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Anhydrobiotic animals protect cellular architecture and metabolic machinery in the dry state, yet the molecular repertoire supporting this profound dehydration tolerance is not fully understood. For the desiccation-tolerant crustacean, Artemia franciscana, we report differential expression of two distinct mRNAs encoding for proteins that share sequence similarities and structural features with late-embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins originally discovered in plants. Bioinformatic analyses support assignment of the LEA proteins from A. franciscana to group 3. This eucoelomate species is the most highly evolved animal for which LEA gene expression has been reported. It is becoming clear that an ensemble of micromolecules and macromolecules is important for establishing the physical conditions required for cellular stabilization during drying in nature. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology

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