Role of membrane transport of water and glycerol in the freeze tolerance of the rice stem borer, Chilo suppressalis Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

Yohei Izumi, Shoji Sonoda, Hideya Yoshida, Hugh V. Danks, Hisaaki Tsumuki

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66 Citations (Scopus)


Overwintering larvae of the rice stem borer, Chilo suppressalis accumulate glycerol and are freezing tolerant to about -25°C. However, non-diapausing larvae cannot accumulate glycerol and are killed by freezing. We compared the extent of tissue damage, the effects of glycerol concentration, and the transport of glycerol and water in fat body tissues from these larvae at selected freezing temperatures. Tissues from overwintering larvae, but not non-diapausing larvae, survive when frozen at -20°C with 0.25 M glycerol, but the protection afforded by glycerol is offset by the water-channel inhibitor mercuric chloride. Glycerol in higher concentration (0.75 M) affords some protection even to the fat body of non-diapausing larvae. Radiotracer assays of overwintering larvae show that water leaves the tissues during freezing while glycerol enters, and that mercuric chloride disrupts this process. Transport is also disrupted after lethal freezing at -35°C. Therefore, membrane transport of water and glycerol is involved in the avoidance of freezing injury to fat body cells of the rice stem borer, apparently by mediating the replacement of water with glycerol in freezing-tolerant tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2006



  • Chilo suppressalis
  • Freeze tolerance
  • Glycerol
  • Membrane transport
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science

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