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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33447. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033447. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Expression of Ixodes scapularis antifreeze glycoprotein enhances cold tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.


Drosophila melanogaster experience cold shock injury and die when exposed to low non-freezing temperatures. In this study, we generated transgenic D. melanogaster that express putative Ixodes scapularis antifreeze glycoprotein (IAFGP) and show that the presence of IAFGP increases the ability of flies to survive in the cold. Male and female adult iafgp-expressing D. melanogaster exhibited higher survival rates compared with controls when placed at non-freezing temperatures. Increased hatching rates were evident in embryos expressing IAFGP when exposed to the cold. The TUNEL assay showed that flight muscles from iafgp-expressing female adult flies exhibited less apoptotic damage upon exposure to non-freezing temperatures in comparison to control flies. Collectively, these data suggest that expression of iafgp increases cold tolerance in flies by preventing apoptosis. This study defines a molecular basis for the role of an antifreeze protein in cryoprotection of flies.

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