, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 59-66
Date: 12 Feb 2008

Exposure of gnotobiotic Artemia franciscana larvae to abiotic stress promotes heat shock protein 70 synthesis and enhances resistance to pathogenic Vibrio campbellii

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Larvae of the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana serve as important feed in fish and shellfish larviculture; however, they are subject to bacterial diseases that devastate entire populations and consequently hinder their use in aquaculture. Exposure to abiotic stress was shown previously to shield Artemia larvae against infection by pathogenic Vibrio, with the results suggesting a mechanistic role for heat shock protein 70. In the current report, combined hypothermic/hyperthermic shock followed by recovery at ambient temperature induced Hsp70 synthesis in Artemia larvae. Thermotolerance was also increased as was protection against infection by Vibrio campbellii, the latter indicated by reduced mortality and lower bacterial load in challenge tests. Resistance to Vibrio improved in the face of declining body mass as demonstrated by measurement of ash-free dry weight. Hypothermic stress only and acute osmotic insult did not promote Hsp70 expression and thermotolerance in Artemia larvae nor was resistance to Vibrio challenge augmented. The data support a causal link between Hsp70 accumulation induced by abiotic stress and enhanced resistance to infection by V. campbellii, perhaps via stimulation of the Artemia immune system. This possibility is now under investigation, and the work may reveal fundamental properties of crustacean immunity. Additionally, the findings are important in aquaculture where development of procedures to prevent bacterial infection of feed stock such as Artemia larvae is a priority.