Membrane Integrity in Anhydrobiotic Organisms: Toward a Mechanism for Stabilizing Dry Cells

  • J. H. Crowe
  • L. M. Crowe


Water is normally thought to be required for maintenance of structure and function in biomolecules (reviewed in Tanford 1980; J.H. Crowe et al. 1987a; L.M. Crowe and J.H. Crowe 1988b). Nevertheless, numerous organisms are capable of surviving essentially complete dehydration, including some that are familiar in daily life, such as seeds of many plants, yeast cells, fungal spores, and the like (see Leopold 1986 for references), but also including some microscopic animals, such as certain nematodes, rotifers, tardigrades, and cysts of some crustacean embryos (for example, those of the brine shrimp, Artemia). The dry organisms may remain in this unique living state, which is known as “anhydrobiosis”, for decades or perhaps even centuries under favorable conditions. When water again becomes available they may rapidly swell and resume active life.


Desiccation Tolerance Liquid Crystalline Phase Trehalose Content Trehalose Synthesis Lipid Phase Transition 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Crowe
    • 1
  • L. M. Crowe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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