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Heat shock proteins and resistance to desiccation in congeneric land snails

By Tal Mizrahi, Joseph Heller, Shoshana Goldenberg and Zeev Arad


Land snails are subject to daily and seasonal variations in temperature and in water availability and depend on a range of behavioral and physiological adaptations for coping with problems of maintaining water, ionic, and thermal balance. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are a multigene family of proteins whose expression is induced by a variety of stress agents. We used experimental desiccation to test whether adaptation to different habitats affects HSP expression in two closely related Sphincterochila snail species, a desiccation-resistant, desert species Sphincterochila zonata, and a Mediterranean-type, desiccation-sensitive species Sphincterochila cariosa. We examined the HSP response in the foot, hepatopancreas, and kidney tissues of snails exposed to normothermic desiccation. Our findings show variations in the HSP response in both timing and magnitude between the two species. The levels of endogenous Hsp72 in S. cariosa were higher in all the examined tissues, and the induction of Hsp72, Hsp74, and Hsp90 developed earlier than in S. zonata. In contrary, the induction of sHSPs (Hsp25 and Hsp30) was more pronounced in S. zonata compared to S. cariosa. Our results suggest that land snails use HSPs as part of their survival strategy during desiccation and as important components of the aestivation mechanism in the transition from activity to dormancy. Our study underscores the distinct strategy of HSP expression in response to desiccation, namely the delayed induction of Hsp70 and Hsp90 together with enhanced induction of sHSPs in the desert-dwelling species, and suggests that evolution in harsh environments will result in selection for reduced Hsp70 expression

Topics: Original Paper
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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