The deep-sea vent shrimp Rimicaris exoculata is believed to occur at the hot end of the hydrothermal biotope in order to provide essential elements to its epibiosis. Because it is found close to hot venting water, R. exoculata lives in a highly fluctuating environment where temperature (2–40 °C in the swarms) can exceed its critical maximal temperature (33–38.5 ± 2 °C). In order to understand how this vent shrimp copes with hyperthermia, we compared its molecular heat stress response following an acute but non-lethal heat-shock (1 h at 30 °C) with that of its monophyletic shallow-water relative, the shrimp Palaemonetes varians, known to frequently undergo prolonged exposure at temperatures up to 30 °C in its natural environment during summer. We isolated four isoforms of heat-shock proteins 70 (HSP70) in R. exoculata (2 constitutive and 2 inducible isoforms) and two isoforms in P. varians (1 constitutive and 1 inducible isoform) and quantitatively compared their magnitude of induction at mRNA level, using real-time PCR, in the case of experimentally heat-stressed shrimps, with respect to control (unstressed) animals. Here, we report the first quantification of the expression of multiple hsp70 genes following heat stress in a deep-sea vent species living at 2300 m depth. Our results show a strong increase of hsp70 inducible genes in the vent shrimp (not, vert, similar 400-fold) compared to the coastal shrimp (not, vert, similar 15-fold). We therefore propose that, the highly inducible molecular response observed in R. exoculata may contribute to the ability of this species to tolerate thermal extremes
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