Transcriptome analysis of the tardigrade Hypsibius exemplaris exposed to the DNA-damaging agent bleomycin




Abstract: Tardigrades are microscopic animals that are renowned for their capabilities of tolerating near-complete desiccation by entering an ametabolic state called anhydrobiosis. However, many species also show high tolerance against radiation in the active state as well, suggesting cross-tolerance via the anhydrobiosis mechanism. Previous studies utilized indirect DNA damaging agents to identify core components of the cross-tolerance machinery in species with high anhydrobiosis capacities. However, it was difficult to distinguish whether transcriptomic changes were specific to DNA damage or mutual with anhydrobiosis. To this end, we performed transcriptome analysis on bleomycin-exposed Hypsibius exemplaris. We observed induction of several tardigrade-specific gene families, including a previously identified novel anti-oxidative stress family, which may be a core component of the cross-tolerance mechanism. We also identified enrichment of the tryptophan metabolism pathway, for which metabolomic analysis suggested engagement of this pathway in stress tolerance. These results provide several candidates for the core component of cross-tolerance, as well as possible anhydrobiosis machinery.

Authors: Yuki YOSHIDA, Akiyoshi HIRAYAMA, Kazuharu ARAKAWA

Journal: Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B