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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2003 Summer;8(2):144-52.

Cloning and characterization of a member of the Hsp70 gene family from Locusta migratoria, a highly thermotolerant insect.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6 Canada.


A complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) and the corresponding gene segment encoding a member of the 70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) family have been cloned and sequenced from Locusta migratoria, the African migratory locust. These animals are noted for their thermotolerance, which can exceed temperatures of 50 degrees C. Conceptually translated, the sequence shows a 654-residue protein with theoretical molecular weight of 71.4 kDa, which more closely resembles the mammalian Hsp70 (84-85% similarity) than Hsp70 from other insects, with approximately 75% similarity to the sequence from the fruit fly. Comparisons of cDNA and genomic sequences show that the gene contains 2 introns, a 245-bp intron located in the 5' untranslated region and a 91-bp intron in the coding region. Transcript abundance, as estimated by Northern blot analysis and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, shows that heat shock treatment (45 degrees C for 3 hours) does not elevate hsp70 messenger ribonucleic acid levels in fat bodies or in neural tissues. Immunological assays of Hsp70 show that the protein is constitutively expressed, with a modest, approximately 2-fold induction after a 3-hour heat shock in fat body preparations. Although this sequence could be an hsc70 rather than an hsp70, it was the only cDNA isolated from heat-shocked tissue. Whatever the formal designation, such modest induction and constitutive expression may be ideally suited as an adaptation to the locust's chronic exposure to heat shock temperatures and the consequent demand for chaperone proteins.

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