Pv11 is an insect cell line established from the midge Polypedilum vanderplanki, whose larval form exhibits an extreme desiccation tolerance known as anhydrobiosis. Pv11 itself is also capable of anhydrobiosis, which is induced by trehalose treatment. Here we report the successful construction of a genome editing system for Pv11 cells and its application to the identification of signaling pathways involved in anhydrobiosis. Using the Cas9-mediated gene knock-in system, we established Pv11 cells that stably expressed GCaMP3 to monitor intracellular Ca2+ mobilization. Intriguingly, trehalose treatment evoked a transient increase in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration, and further experiments revealed that the calmodulin–calcineurin–NFAT pathway contributes to tolerance of trehalose treatment as well as desiccation tolerance, while the calmodulin–calmodulin kinase–CREB pathway conferred only desiccation tolerance on Pv11 cells. Thus, our results show a critical contribution of the trehalose-induced Ca2+ surge to anhydrobiosis and demonstrate temporally different roles for each signaling pathway.
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