From The World Weekly:
New research has now emerged showing that water bears have a novel way of preserving themselves through droughts, using a unique protein known as tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins (TDPs). When wet, TDPs are a jelly-like substance, but in drought conditions water bears curl up into a ball in a process known as cryptobiosis, and the TDPs form a glassy enclave, cocooning the water bear from harm.
Margaret D. Lowman, of the Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability in California, told TWW that water bears can stay in this state for extremely long periods of time and have been successfully revived from centuries-old plant proteins.
“Scientists discovered how they can go into ‘suspended animation’ during drought,” Dr. Lowman said. “They produce unique proteins, allowing their cells to turn glassy, until the addition of water brings them back to life.“