Multiple genes contribute to anhydrobiosis (tolerance to extreme desiccation) in the nematode Panagrolaimus superbus

<div><p>Abstract The molecular basis of anhydrobiosis, the state of suspended animation entered by some species during extreme desiccation, is still poorly understood despite a number of transcriptome and proteome studies. We therefore conducted functional screening by RNA interference (RNAi) for genes involved in anhydrobiosis in the holo-anhydrobiotic nematode Panagrolaimus superbus. A new method of survival analysis, based on staining, and proof-of-principle RNAi experiments confirmed a role for genes involved in oxidative stress tolerance, while a novel medium-scale RNAi workflow identified a further 40 anhydrobiosis-associated genes, including several involved in proteostasis, DNA repair and signal transduction pathways. This suggests that multiple genes contribute to anhydrobiosis in P. superbus.</p></div>