Upon entry into the state of anhydrobiosis, trehalose-based energy metabolism is arrested in Artemia embryos (cysts). We have compared changes in the levels of trehalose, glycogen, some glycolytic intermediates and adenylate nucleotides in hydrated embryos observed under conditions of aerobic development with those occurring after transfer to 50moll−1 NaCl. This treatment is known to reduce cellassociated water into a range previously referred to as the ametabolic domain. The trehalose utilization and glycogen synthesis that occur during development of fully hydrated cysts are both blocked during desiccation. Upon return to 0.25 moll−1 NaCl both processes are resumed. Analysis of glycolytic intermediates suggests that the inhibition is localized at the trehalase, hexokinase and phosphofructokinase reactions. ATP level remains constant during the 6-h period of dehydration, as does the adenylate energy charge. An additional dehydration experiment was performed in 5.0moll−1 NaCl containing 50mmoll−1 ammonium chloride (pH9-0). The resulting level of gaseous ammonia in the medium has been shown to maintain an alkaline intracellular pH (pHi) in the embryos. The metabolic response to dehydration under these conditions was very similar to the previous dehydration series. Thus, these results are taken as strong evidence that the metabolic suppression observed during dehydration does not require cellular acidification, in contrast to the pronounced inhibitory role of low pHi during entry of hydrated embryos into the quiescent state of anaerobic dormancy. The arrest of carbohydrate metabolism seen during anhydrobiosis indeed appears to be a strict function of embryo water content.

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