Gene expression associated with changes in cold tolerance levels of the Antarctic springtail, Cryptopygus antarcticus


Gavin Burns, British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK. Tel.: +44 1223221324; fax: +44 1223362616; e-mail:


The ability of the Antarctic microarthropod Cryptopygus antarcticus (Collembola, Isotomidae) to survive low temperatures has been well studied at the physiological level, with recent investigations indicating the importance of the moulting process in conferring this ability. This study investigated gene expression in groups of C. antarcticus that have distinct differences in their ability to survive low temperatures. A microarray containing c. 5400 C. antarcticus expressed sequence tags was used to investigate gene expression differences between groups of animals with different supercooling points (SCP), and to low temperatures close to their SCP. By demonstrating the involvement of moult-related genes in the differential survival of two groups of C. antarcticus with distinct SCP profiles, the results of this investigation add support to the suggestion that moulting plays a role in conferring cold tolerance in C. antarcticus.