The larvae of the African midge, Polypedilum vanderplanki, can enter an ametabolic state called anhydrobiosis to overcome fatal desiccation stress. The Pv11 cell line, derived from P. vanderplanki embryo, shows desiccation tolerance when treated with trehalose before desiccation and resumes proliferation after rehydration. However, the molecular mechanisms of this desiccation tolerance remain unknown. Here, we performed high-throughput CAGE-seq of mRNA and a differentially expressed gene analysis in trehalose-treated, desiccated, and rehydrated Pv11 cells, followed by gene ontology analysis of the identified differentially expressed genes. We detected differentially expressed genes after trehalose treatment involved in various stress responses, detoxification of harmful chemicals, and regulation of oxidoreduction that were upregulated. In the desiccation phase, L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase and heat shock proteins were upregulated and ribosomal proteins were downregulated. Analysis of differentially expressed genes during rehydration supported the notion that homologous recombination, nucleotide excision repair, and non-homologous recombination were involved in the recovery process. This study provides initial insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the extreme desiccation tolerance of Pv11 cells.
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