Physiological response of the cold-seep mussel Bathymodiolus childressi to acutely elevated temperature
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It is predicted that deep-sea animals adapted to thermally stable conditions should be highly sensitive to temperature change and should not have inducible heat-shock responses. This premise was tested with the cold-seep mussel Bathymodiolus childressi Gustafson, 1998 from 750 m depth in the Gulf of Mexico at a site known as Brine Pool NR-1 (27°43.4157N, 91°16.756W). Mussels were collected during February 2003. Site temperature, measured in different months between 1995 and 2005, ranged between 6.5 and 7.2°C. Although Brine Pool NR-1 is stenothermal, hydrogen sulfide, oxygen, and salinity vary over temporal and spatial scales. In laboratory experiments, B. childressi survived increases up to approximately 20°C above ambient temperature for 6 h before suffering greater than 50% mortality. Although a high thermal tolerance was observed, B. childressi did not express an inducible 70 kDa heat-shock protein. However, high constitutive levels of hsp70 were present in B. childressi suggesting a necessity to remediate protein damage from stressors other than elevated temperature; these constitutive proteins probably confer an indirect thermal tolerance.
KeywordsHydrogen Sulfide Hsp70 Level Antarctic Fish Ubiquitin Conjugate High Constitutive Level
Funding was provided by an Oregon Sea Grant Program Development Award to C.M.Y., National Science Foundation grant OCE-0243688 to C.M.Y., and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Undersea Research Program) UNCW grant to C.M.Y. We thank the captain and crew of the RV Seward Johnson, along with the crew and pilots of the DSRV Johnson Sea-Link. Earlier drafts of this manuscript were improved from comments by two anonymous reviewers. We also thank R. Emlet for generously providing equipment and lab space to conduct the molecular work. All experiments in this manuscript comply with the current laws of the United States.
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