, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 739–755 | Cite as

Stress Proteins (hsp70, hsp60) Induced in Isopods and Nematodes by Field Exposure to Metals in a Gradient near Avonmouth, UK

  • Marie-José S. J. Arts
  • Ralph O. Schill
  • Thomas Knigge
  • Helga Eckwert
  • Jan E. Kammenga
  • Heinz-R. KÖhlerEmail author


Heat shock proteins (hsps) are potential biomarkers for monitoring environmental pollution. In this study, the use of hsps as biomarkers in field bioassays was evaluated in terrestrial invertebrates exposed to a metal gradient near Avonmouth, UK. We investigated the hsp70 response in resident and transplanted isopods of the species Oniscus asellus and Porcellio scaber and the hsp60 response in transplanted nematodes of the species Plectus acuminatusin six field sites along the metal gradient. Considerable differences were detected in the stress responses between nematodes and isopods (isopods responded in a gradient-specific manner, nematodes did not), the two isopod species and the transplanted and resident specimens of each isopod species in the sites closest to the smelter, O. asellus residents showed high hsp70 levels while O. asellus transplanted from an unpolluted site displayed comparatively low hsp70 levels. For P. scaber, it was just the opposite. In resident isopod populations of both species, tolerant phenotypes were revealed in the most contaminated field sites. The hsp70 level in both isopod species was a suitable biomarker of effect (but of exposure only in non-tolerant individuals) even in long-term metal-contaminated field sites. The hsp60 response in the nematode alone was not a suitable biomarker for heavily contaminated soils. However, it had indicative value when related to the hsp70 response in the isopods and could be a suitable biomarker for less heavily contaminated soils.


biomarker heat shock proteins nematode isopods metal polluted soil field bioassay 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-José S. J. Arts
    • 1
  • Ralph O. Schill
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thomas Knigge
    • 2
    • 3
  • Helga Eckwert
    • 2
  • Jan E. Kammenga
    • 1
  • Heinz-R. KÖhler
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of NematologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Cell Biology, Zoological InstituteUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Animal Physiological Ecology, Zoological InstituteUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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