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The 70 kDa Heat Shock Protein Assists during the Repair of Chilling Injury in the Insect, Pyrrhocoris apterus

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004546
  • Research Article
  • Ecology/Physiological Ecology
  • Physiology/Integrative Physiology
  • Physiology/Reproductive Physiology
  • Biology


Background The Pyrrhocoris apterus (Insecta: Heteroptera) adults attain high levels of cold tolerance during their overwintering diapause. Non-diapause reproducing adults, however, lack the capacity to express a whole array of cold-tolerance adaptations and show relatively low survival when exposed to sub-zero temperatures. We assessed the competence of non-diapause males of P. apterus for responding to heat- and cold-stresses by up-regulation of 70 kDa heat shock proteins (Hsps) and the role of Hsps during repair of heat- and cold-induced injury. Principal Findings The fragments of P. apterus homologues of Hsp70 inducible (PaHsp70) and cognate forms (PaHsc70) were cloned and sequenced. The abundance of mRNA transcripts for the inducible form (qPCR) and corresponding protein (Western blotting) were significantly up-regulated in response to high and low temperature stimuli. In the cognate form, mRNA was slightly up-regulated in response to both stressors but very low or no up-regulation of protein was apparent after heat- or cold-stress, respectively. Injection of 695 bp-long Pahsp70 dsRNA (RNAi) caused drastic suppression of the heat- and cold-stress-induced Pahsp70 mRNA response and the up-regulation of corresponding protein was practically eliminated. Our RNAi predictably prevented recovery from heat shock and, in addition, negatively influenced repair of chilling injuries caused by cold stress. Cold tolerance increased when the insects were first exposed to a mild heat shock, in order to trigger the up-regulation of PaHsp70, and subsequently exposed to cold stress. Conclusion Our results suggest that accumulation of PaHsp70 belongs to a complex cold tolerance adaptation in the insect Pyrrhocoris apterus.

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