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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 1;277(5):3274-9. Epub 2001 Nov 21.

Role of trehalose phosphate synthase in anoxia tolerance and development in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Recent studies have shown that trehalose plays a protective role in yeast in a variety of stresses, including heat, freezing and thawing, dehydration, hyperosmotic shock, and oxidant injury. Because (a) heat shock and anoxia share mechanisms that allow organisms to survive, (b) Drosophila melanogaster is tolerant to anoxia, and (c) trehalose is present in flies and is metabolically active, we asked whether trehalose can protect against anoxic stress. Here we report on a new role of trehalose in anoxia resistance in Drosophila. We first cloned the gene trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (tps1), which synthesizes trehalose, and examined the effect of tps1 overexpression as well as mutation on the resistance of Drosophila to anoxia. Upon induction of tps1, trehalose increased, and this was associated with increased tolerance to anoxia. Furthermore, in vitro experiments showed that trehalose reduced protein aggregation caused by anoxia. Homozygous tps1 mutant (P-element insertion into the third intron of the gene) leads to lethality at an early larval stage, and excision of the P-element rescues totally the phenotype. We conclude that trehalose contributes to anoxia tolerance in flies; this protection is likely to be due to a reduction of protein aggregation.

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