Physiological, biochemical and transcriptomic adaptive responses to harmful UV radiation and Temperature increases in Antarctic meiofaunal organisms: a walk from genes to organism.


2014-2016. Bando PRNA 11.3.2013, n. 417. Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca.


The discovery of the Antarctic “ozone hole” raised high concern in public and scientific opinion. The climate change will worsen the situation altering the tropospheric ozone budget increasing the harmful UV radiation with consequences on human and ecosystem health. Harmful UV radiation produces oxidative stress, which is involved in the etiogenesis of many pathologies. All life forms are susceptible to harmful UV, and their effects are also temperature dependent. Antarctic micrometazoans are especially vulnerable to the synergic effects of harmful UV radiation and temperature increase early in the growing season during spring ozone depletion. This proposal aims to study the effects of UV and temperature increase on terrestrial Antarctic meiofaunal, the natural defence mechanisms evolved by these organisms, the bio-prospection potential of the stressed-induced molecules involved in the ad aptive responses. The research will be performed by a multidisciplinary approach (physiological, biochemical, transcriptomic), integrating different methodological techniques, and specific and complementary experience of 5 scientific teams. The experimental set-up will be applied to tardigrades, as their ability to tolerate desiccation may be central to tolerate harmful UV, analysing the life history traits, the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects, and the key components of the antioxidant defences.
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy (Coordinator)
National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study, Verbania, Italy
Natural Environment Research Council, British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Cambridge, UK
University of Milan, Milan, Italy
National Research Council, Institute of Crystallography, Rome, Italy


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