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Suzuki, D., Miyamoto, T., Kikawada, T., Watanabe, M., & Suzuki, T. (2014). A leech capable of surviving exposure to extremely low temperatures. PLoS ONE, 9(1), e86807. 
Added by: Sarina Wunderlich (06 Jul 2014 16:17:24 UTC)
Resource type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086807
BibTeX citation key: Suzuki2014a
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Categories: General
Keywords: Habitat - habitat, Ostasien - East Asia, Parasiten - parasites, Schildkröten - turtles + tortoises, Testudinidae, Testudo hermanni
Creators: Kikawada, Miyamoto, Suzuki, Suzuki, Watanabe
Collection: PLoS ONE
Views: 7/1020
Views index: 23%
Popularity index: 5.75%
It is widely considered that most organisms cannot survive prolonged exposure to temperatures below 0°C, primarily because of the damage caused by the water in cells as it freezes. However, some organisms are capable of surviving extreme variations in environmental conditions. In the case of temperature, the ability to survive subzero temperatures is referred to as cryobiosis. We show that the ozobranchid leech, Ozobranchus jantseanus, a parasite of freshwater turtles, has a surprisingly high tolerance to freezing and thawing. This finding is particularly interesting because the leach can survive these temperatures without any acclimation period or pretreatment. Specifically, the leech survived exposure to super-low temperatures by storage in liquid nitrogen (−196°C) for 24 hours, as well as long-term storage at temperatures as low as −90°C for up to 32 months. The leech was also capable of enduring repeated freeze-thaw cycles in the temperature range 20°C to −100°C and then back to 20°C. The results demonstrated that the novel cryotolerance mechanisms employed by O. jantseanus enable the leech to withstand a wider range of temperatures than those reported previously for cryobiotic organisms. We anticipate that the mechanism for the observed tolerance to freezing and thawing in O. jantseanus will prove useful for future studies of cryopreservation. Ozobranchus jantseanus is an external parasite on the freshwater turtles Mauremys japonica and M. reevesii, and relies on its turtle hosts for all of its life stages, i.e. from the egg to the adult stage.
Added by: Sarina Wunderlich  
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