Variable heat shock response in Antarctic biofouling serpulid worms
The classical heat shock response (HSR) with up-regulation of hsp70 in response to warming is often absent in Antarctic marine species. Whilst in Antarctic fish, this is due to a mutation in the gene promoter region resulting in permanent constitutive expression of the inducible form of hsp70; there are further questions as to whether evolution to life below 0 °C has resulted in a generalised alteration to the HSR in Antarctic marine invertebrates. However, the number of species investigated to date is limited. In the first evaluation of the HSR in two spirorbid polychaetes Romanchella perrieri and Protolaeospira stalagmia, we show highly variable results of HSR induction depending on warming regimes. These animals were subjected to in situ warming (+ 1 °C and + 2 °C above ambient conditions) using heated settlement panels for 18 months, and then the HSR was tested in R. perrieri using acute and chronic temperature elevation trials. The classic HSR was not induced in response to acute thermal challenge in this species (2 h at 15 °C) and significant down-regulation of hsp90 occurred during chronic warming at 4 °C for 30 days. Analysis of heat shock protein (HSP) genes in a transcriptome study of P. stalagmia, which had been warmed in situ for 18 months, showed up-regulation of HSP70 and HSP90 family members, thus further emphasising the complexity of the response in Antarctic marine species. It is increasingly apparent that the Antarctic HSR has evolved in a species-specific manner to life in the cold.
Authors: Nieva, Leyre Villota, Peck, Lloyd S. ORCID record for Lloyd S. Peck, Clark, Melody S. ORCID record for Melody S. Clark