Protein Folding and Embryogenesis in Antarctic Fishes: A Comparative Approach to Environmental StressEntry ID: USAP-1247510_1
Since the advent of Antarctic continental glaciation, the opening of the Drake Passage between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, and the onset of cooling of the Southern Ocean ~40-25 million years ago, evolution of the Antarctic marine biota has been driven by the development of extreme cold temperatures. As circum-Antarctic coastal temperatures declined during this period from ~20°C ... to the modern -1.9 to +2.0°C (reached ~8-10 million years ago), the psychrophilic (cold-loving) ectotherms of the Southern Ocean evolved compensatory molecular, cellular, and physiological traits that enabled them to maintain normal metabolic function at cold temperatures. Today, these organisms are threatened by rapid warming of the Southern Ocean over periods measured in centuries (as much as 5°C/100 yr), a timeframe so short that re-adaptation and/or acclimatization to the “new warm” may not be possible. Thus, the long-term goals of this research project are: 1) to understand the biochemical and physiological capacities of the embryos of Antarctic notothenioid fish to resist or compensate for rapid oceanic warming; and 2) to assess the genetic toolkit available to support the acclimatization and adaptation of Antarctic notothenioid embryos to their warming habitat. The specific aims of this work are: 1) to determine the capacity of the chaperonin complex of notothenioid fishes to assist protein folding at temperatures between -4 and +20°C; and 2) to evaluate the genetic responses of notothenioid embryos, measured as global differential gene transcription, to temperature challenge, with -1.9°C as the “normal” control and +4 and +10°C as high temperature insults.
H. William Detrich
Email: w.detrich at northeastern.edu
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