Format of Original
Company of Biologists
Journal of Experimental Biology
Original Item ID
To avoid freezing while overwintering beneath the bark of fallen trees, Dendroides canadensis (Coleoptera: Pyrochroidae) larvae produce a family of antifreeze proteins (DAFPs) that are transcribed in specific tissues and have specific compartmental fates. DAFPs and associated thermal hysteresis activity (THA) have been shown previously in hemolymph and midgut fluid, but the presence of DAFPs has not been explored in primary urine, a potentially important site that can contain endogenous ice-nucleating compounds that could induce freezing. A maximum mean THA of 2.65±0.33°C was observed in primary urine of winter-collected D. canadensis larvae. THA in primary urine increased significantly through autumn, peaked in the winter and decreased through spring to levels of 0.2–0.3°C in summer, in a pattern similar to that of hemolymph and midgut fluid. THA was also found in hindgut fluid and excreted rectal fluid, suggesting that these larvae not only concentrate AFPs in the hindgut, but also excrete AFPs from the rectal cavity. Based on dafp transcripts isolated from Malpighian tubule epithelia, cDNAs were cloned and sequenced, identifying the presence of transcripts encoding 24 DAFP isoforms. Six of these Malpighian tubule DAFPs were known previously, but 18 are new. We also provide functional evidence that DAFPs can inhibit ice nucleators present in insect primary urine. This is potentially critical because D. canadensis larvae die if frozen, and therefore ice formation in any body fluid, including the urine, would be lethal.