Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 649–660 | Cite as

Triggers of the HSP70 stress response: environmental responses and laboratory manipulation in an Antarctic marine invertebrate (Nacella concinna)

  • Melody S. ClarkEmail author
  • Lloyd S. Peck
Original Paper


The Antarctic limpet, Nacella concinna, exhibits the classical heat shock response, with up-regulation of duplicated forms of the inducible heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) gene in response to experimental manipulation of seawater temperatures. However, this response only occurs in the laboratory at temperatures well in excess of any experienced in the field. Subsequent environmental sampling of inter-tidal animals also showed up-regulation of these genes, but at temperature thresholds much lower than those required to elicit a response in the laboratory. It was hypothesised that this was a reflection of the complexity of the stresses encountered in the inter-tidal region. Here, we describe a further series of experiments comprising both laboratory manipulation and environmental sampling of N. concinna. We investigate the expression of HSP70 gene family members (HSP70A, HSP70B, GRP78 and HSC70) in response to a further suite of environmental stressors: seasonal and experimental cold, freshwater, desiccation, chronic heat and periodic emersion. Lowered temperatures (−1.9°C and −1.6°C), generally produced a down-regulation of all HSP70 family members, with some up-regulation of HSC70 when emerging from the winter period and increasing sea temperatures. There was no significant response to freshwater immersion. In response to acute and chronic heat treatments plus simulated tidal cycles, the data showed a clear pattern. HSP70A showed a strong but very short-term response to heat whilst the duplicated HSP70B also showed heat to be a trigger, but had a more sustained response to complex stresses. GRP78 expression indicates that it was acting as a generalised stress response under the experimental conditions described here. HSC70 was the major chaperone invoked in response to long-term stresses of varying types. These results provide intriguing clues not only to the complexity of HSP70 gene expression in response to environmental change but also insights into the stress response of a non-model species.


Environmental change Chronic stress Acute stress Inter-tidal Macrophysiology 



This paper was produced within the BAS Q4 BIOREACH/BIOFLAME core programmes. The authors would like to thank all members of the Rothera Dive Team for providing samples, to Pete Rothery for statistics advice and Simon Morley for advice and help with the tidal simulation experiment. Overall diving support was provided by the NERC National Facility for Scientific Diving at Oban.


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biological Sciences Division, British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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