Development of the embryonic heat shock response and the impact of repeated thermal stress in early stage lake whitefish ( Coregonus clupeaformis ) embryos
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Lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) embryos were exposed to thermal stress (TS) at different developmental stages to determine when the heat shock response (HSR) can be initiated and if it is altered by exposure to repeated TS. First, embryos were subject to one of three different TS temperatures (6, 9, or 12°C above control) at 4 points in development (21, 38, 60 and 70 days post-fertilisation (dpf)) for 2h followed by a 2h recovery to understand the ontogeny of the HSR. A second experiment explored the effects of repeated TS on the HSR in embryos from 15 to 75 dpf. Embryos were subjected to one of two TS regimes; +6°C TS for 1h every 6 days or +9°C TS for 1h every 6 days. Following a 2h recovery, a subset of embryos was sampled. Our results show that embryos could initiate a HSR via upregulation of heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) mRNA at all developmental ages studied, but that this response varied with age and was only observed with a TS of +9 or +12°C. In comparison, when embryos received multiple TS treatments, hsp70 was not induced in response to the 1h TS and 2h recovery, and a downregulation was observed at 39 dpf. Downregulation of hsp47 and hsp90α mRNA was also observed in early age embryos. Collectively, these data suggest that embryos are capable of initiating a HSR at early age and throughout embryogenesis, but that repeated TS can alter the HSR, and may result in either reduced responsiveness or a downregulation of inducible hsps. Our findings warrant further investigation into both the short- and long-term effects of repeated TS on lake whitefish development.
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