21, Jul 2023
Unique Proteins in Resilient Water Bears Safeguard

According to research, tardigrades, also known as water bears, have a special type of protein in their cells that protects against dehydration.

Water bears, also called tardigrades, were known for their ability to withstand harsh conditions. In addition, recent research by researchers from the University of Tokyo suggests that tardigrades can also withstand severe dehydration.

This suggests that they can survive without water.

Gel proteins

As suggested, the researchers examined the gel proteins produced by water bears or tardigrades when they dehydrate. As a result, the study discovered how tardigrades protect themselves from radiation with fluorescent shields and DNA clouds.

Takekazu Kunieda, associate professor in the department of life sciences at the University of Tokyo, said that while water is necessary for all life as we know it, some tardigrades can survive for a long time without it. The key lies in how your cells react to this Stress resulting from the dehydration process.

He further explained that it is believed that a protein must help a cell maintain its body endurance to prevent it from collapsing on itself when the water leaves the cell. His team discovered that the abundant heat-soluble cytoplasmic proteins (CAH) specific to tardigrades are responsible for protecting their cells from dehydration after testing different types.

No Stress

According to this theory, cahs proteins begin to act when the cell containing the proteins is dehydrated. CAH proteins form filaments that look like gels.

The filaments gradually disappear as the tardigrade cells rehydrate at a rate that does not expose the cell to excessive stress, as the process is reversible. Interestingly, even after being removed from the tardigrade cells, the proteins functioned in the same way.

Akihiro Tanaka, the lead author of the study and a graduate student in the laboratory, said that there are interesting difficulties in studying the behavior of AcAh proteins in human and insect cells.

Tanaka stressed that the team must first stain the proteins so that they are visible under a microscope. However, the typical staining method requires solutions containing water, which confuses any experiment in which the concentration of water is a factor that one wishes to control. Therefore, the team turned to a methanol-based solution that made it possible to circumvent the problem.


Kunieda said that we should study new mechanisms and structures in the light of the diversity of habitats that some species can support. This region is a treasure trove for biologists.

He after added that the world of tardigrades is fascinating in every way.

Kunieda and her team will sort out more than 300 additional protein subtypes, some of which are likely to play a role in achieving higher levels of survival and protection for these tiny water bears, according to interesting technical reports.

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