A new study has shown how an octopus living in the frigid waters of the Antarctic keeps itself warm.
Low temperatures can affect the function of certain proteins that allow the nervous system to send signals. Molecular neurophysiologist Joshua Rosenthal and his graduate student Sandra Garrett of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan, thought that the octopus would produce a different protein that functions more efficiently at lower temperatures. “We thought we were going to see changes at the level of the gene,” Rosenthal says.
However, the octopus use a method called RNA editing to allow crucial nervous system proteins to function at low temperatures. This paper is the first to show that RNA editing can lead to adaption.
“What our paper really adds,” Rosenthal says, “is that this process can be used to help adapt to the environment.”
The whole report can be found here: RNA Editing Underlies Temperature Adaption in Potassium Channels from Polar Octopuses.
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC.