Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Dealing with the cold


Drosophila suzukii – female; Image from Wikimedia Commons

Cold-tolerant insects have developed several strategies for dealing with cold temperatures. A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology explored how spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), in particular, adapted physiologically to cold exposure. They discovered that animals adapted to living in the cold had altered the structure of their cellular membranes in ways that kept the membrane fluid and prevented it from becoming rigid. Moreover, the cold-acclimated flies built up concentrations of sugars and amino acids that are well-known cryoprotectants in insects. 


Enriquez T, Colinet H. Cold acclimation triggers lipidomic and metabolic adjustments in the spotted wing drosophila Drosophila suzukii (Matsumara). American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 316(6): R751-R763, 2019.

Categories: Environment

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