The Center for Biostabilization at UC Davis is attempting to stabilize mammalian cells in the dry state. We review here some of the lessons from nature that we have been applying to this enterprise, including the use of trehalose, a disaccharide found at high concentrations in many anhydrobiotic organisms, to stabilize biological structures, both in vitro and in vivo. Trehalose has useful properties for this purpose and in at least in one case—human blood platelets—introducing this sugar may be sufficient to achieve useful stabilization. Nucleated cells, however, are stabilized by trehalose only during the initial stages of dehydration. Introduction of a stress protein obtained from an anhydrobiotic organism, Artemia, improves the stability markedly, both during the dehydration event and following rehydration. Thus, it appears that the stabilization will require multiple adaptations, many of which we propose to apply from studies on anhydrobiosis.
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Vol. 45 • No. 5