European Funds KED - UMK - EU ESF
Academia Copernicana
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A new view on freeze tolerance/avoidance in land snails – role of HSP/CSP proteins.


Title of the project A new view on freeze tolerance/avoidance in land snails – role of HSP/CSP proteins.
Primary and secondary scientific disciplines Natural sciences, Animal Physiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry
Description of the project The snails occupying extreme environments should employ a “preparative defence” strategy involving maintenance of high constitutive levels of HSP/CSP in their cells as a mechanism for protection against periods of extreme and unpredictable stress. Knowledge about the role of HSPs in snails in still poor, therefore it is interesting whether the stress tolerance depends on the synthesis of HSPs. We assume that their upregulation may enhance survival under stress conditions by rescuing critical proteins and reducing the energetic cost associated with protein damage. Given that winter temperature for snails vary from above 0 to -20C or less, the constitutive chaperone defenses could also be necessary to stabilize protein conformation over wide ranges of environmental temperatures, as well as during freeze/thaw cycles. CSPs have a highly conserved (from bacteria to higher plants and animals) nucleic acid binding domain, called the cold shock domain. In plants they play essential roles in acquiring freezing tolerance. It should be stressed that direct relation of CSPs level with functionality of these protein during freeze/thaw cycles was not investigated so far.

Characteristics and main objectives of the research project:

  • Identification of CSPs in snails
  • Identification of snail microbiota and possibly their genome
  • Determination of expression of the proteins during exposure to freezing in snails.

The project is conducted in cooperation with: Vilnius University, Life Science Center, lnstitute of Biosciences

Principal supervisor: PhD, Anna Nowakowska prof. UMK
Foreign scientific advisor: dr. Grita Skujiene