The ability to withstand desiccation by entering anhydrobiosis is important for the survival of many nematode species. We are interested in the metabolic changes that occur during dehydration in the semiarid strain IS-6 of the insect parasitic nematode Steinernema feltiae. These changes may enable IS6 to be more tolerant to desiccation than temperate strains. We identified genes of IS-6 that exhibit changes in transcript levels during dehydration. These included glycogen synthase (Sf-gsy-1), which is the rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of glycogen, which is likely to play a role in desiccation survival. We established the changes in the steady state level of Sf-gsy-1 transcripts upon dehydration and determined the biochemical changes in the level of its product, glycogen, during the dehydration and rehydration of nematodes. Our results suggest a shift from glycogen to trehalose synthesis during dehydration, which is regulated at least in part by suppression of glycogen synthase transcription.

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