Cover: A subset of the diverse organisms used in the studies of biochemical adaptation presented in this special issue. From left to right: the Antarctic notothenioid fish Pagothenia borchgrevinki; the California mussel Mytilus californianus; the longfin inshore squid Doryteuthis pealeii; the porcelain crab Petrolisthes manimaculus; and the longjaw mudsucker Gillichthys mirabilis. These species inhabit a wide range of habitats, including McMurdo Sound in Antarctica (bottom left) and the central California rocky intertidal zone (bottom right), in which they maintain common biochemical abilities. The 3D structure in the middle is isocitrate dehydrogenase. Photo credits: Adam Paganini, George Somero, Brent Lockwood, Roger Halon, Stephen Sharnoff and Tzong-Horng Yang.
- PDF Icon PDF LinkTable of contents
- PDF Icon PDF LinkIssue info
SPECIAL ISSUE: Biochemical adaptation: conservation and innovation in the face of environmental change
Adaptations of protein structure and function to temperature: there is more than one way to ‘skin a cat’
Summary: Studies over the past 40 years have shown that one to a few amino acid substitutions are sufficient to alter enzyme function in temperature-adaptive ways, but that these substitutions can occur in a variety of locations throughout the protein.
The emerging role of RNA editing in plasticity
Summary: RNA editing can be used by organisms to regulate their physiological response to the environment. Recent studies show that it is used more frequently than previously suspected.
The environmentally tuned transcriptomes of Mytilus mussels
Summary: Abiotic factors, such as temperature and the tidal cycle, drive patterns of gene expression in Mytilus mussels that underlie whole-organism physiological states, which, in turn, influence biogeographic distributions.
Antarctic notothenioid fish: what are the future consequences of ‘losses’ and ‘gains’ acquired during long-term evolution at cold and stable temperatures?
Summary: Antarctic notothenioid fishes have undergone biochemical losses and gains during long-term adaptation to cold; the processes underlying thermal tolerance and acclimation capacity of these cold-specialized animals are examined in the context of climate change.
Animal ice-binding (antifreeze) proteins and glycolipids: an overview with emphasis on physiological function
Summary: Ice-binding proteins and glycolipids evolved independently multiple times to assist subzero temperature survival in diverse organisms, both freeze-tolerant and freeze-avoiding. Their physiological functions in animals are reviewed.
The effects of temperature on aerobic metabolism: towards a mechanistic understanding of the responses of ectotherms to a changing environment
Summary: A view of why current theories provide an inadequate mechanistic account of the effects of temperature on aerobic metabolic processes across levels of organization from individual proteins to intact animals.
Proteomic responses to environmentally induced oxidative stress
Summary: This review covers the ROS-producing and -scavenging reactions of mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and peroxisome and compares these to the actual proteomic responses of marine organisms to environmentally induced oxidative stress.
Co-evolution of proteins and solutions: protein adaptation versus cytoprotective micromolecules and their roles in marine organisms
Summary: Biochemical adaptation to environmental stressors involves not only evolution of changes in macromolecular structures, but also selection for protective cellular micromolecules such as osmolytes and piezolytes in the deep sea.
Physiological strategies during animal diapause: lessons from brine shrimp and annual killifish
Summary: The apparent convergent evolution of diapause in brine shrimp and annual killifish has occurred at the physiological level, via unique molecular mechanisms. This review underscores the central importance of physiological, rather than molecular, responses to environmental stress.
Physiological mechanisms used by fish to cope with salinity stress
Summary: Some fishes have evolved high salinity stress tolerance (euryhalinity), favoring adaptive radiation in a climate of rapidly changing and fluctuating salinity. The mechanisms underlying euryhalinity of fishes are outlined.
Transcriptomic responses to environmental temperature in eurythermal and stenothermal fishes
Summary: Comparative transcriptomics is rapidly accelerating our understanding of how fish respond to thermal stress; this review summarizes and synthesizes gene expression patterns from stenothermal and eurythermal species responding to acute and long-term exposure to temperature.
Considerations for the use of transcriptomics in identifying the ‘genes that matter’ for environmental adaptation
Summary: The ability of transcriptomics to identify genes that underlie environmental adaptation is explored in the context of recent systems-level experiments that provide new insights into the relationship between gene expression and fitness.
Evolution of urea transporters in vertebrates: adaptation to urea's multiple roles and metabolic sources
Summary: The UT family experienced a dynamic evolutionary trajectory in vertebrates, and we propose that this phylogeny is intricately linked to the diverse physiological functions of urea and to the multiple ureogenic pathways in vertebrates.
Biochemical adaptation to ocean acidification
Summary: Physiological adaptation to ocean acidification has been widely studied using comparative and experimental approaches, yet the biochemical bases for adaptation is not well characterized.
Thermal variation, thermal extremes and the physiological performance of individuals
Summary: We review how temporal, spatial and physiological variation have potentially synergistic effects on the thermal performance of individuals and conclude that several challenges must be overcome to fully incorporate small-scale variation into predictions of climate change.
Giving microbes their due – animal life in a microbially dominant world
Summary: Recent nucleic acid sequencing data provide compelling evidence that animals live in a microbial world and that microbes have shaped animal biology, including their biochemistry and physiology, over evolutionary time.
New funding schemes for junior faculty staff
In celebration of our 100th anniversary, JEB has launched two new grants to support junior faculty staff working in animal comparative physiology and biomechanics who are within five years of setting up their first lab/research group. Check out our ECR Visiting Fellowships and Research Partnership Kickstart Travel Grants. First deadline for applications is 15 July 2023.
JEB@100: an interview with Monitoring Editor Sanjay Sane
Sanjay Sane tells us about his first experience of publishing with the journal and why he thinks JEB is going to play a key role in our understanding of the current climate crisis and its implications for biodiversity.
The Forest of Biologists
The Forest of Biologists is a biodiversity initiative created by The Company of Biologists, with support from the Woodland Trust. For every Research and Review article published in Journal of Experimental Biology a native tree is planted in a UK forest. In addition to this we are protecting and restoring ancient woodland and are dedicating these trees to our peer reviewers. Visit our virtual forest to learn more.
Celebrating 100 years of discovery
This Special Issue focuses on broad biological questions addressed through the lens of comparative biomechanics. Crosscutting through time, this series of Reviews, Commentaries and Research Articles addresses questions from the vantage points of the history of the field, today’s research, and the future of comparative biomechanics. Read the Editorial by Sheila Patek, Monica Daley and Sanjay Sane.
Centenary Review - Adaptive echolocation behavior
Cynthia F. Moss and colleagues Review the behaviours used by echolocating mammals to track and intercept moving prey, interrogate dynamic sonar scenes, and exploit visual and passive acoustic stimuli.
Lack of oxygen curtails vision in red-eared sliders
When red-eared sliders sink to the bottom of a frozen pond for winter they reduce many biological systems to minimum life support, but now Michael Ariel and colleagues show that the reptiles temporarily lose their sight due to lack of oxygen but retain hearing.