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J Insect Physiol. 2001 Nov;47(11):1301-1307.

Larval crowding in Drosophila melanogaster induces Hsp70 expression, and leads to increased adult longevity and adult thermal stress resistance.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Ecology, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade, Building 540, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark


In this study we show for the first time that moderate high larval density induces Hsp70 expression in Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Larval crowding led to both increased mean and maximal longevity in adults of both sexes. Two different measures of heat-stress resistance increased in adult flies developed at high density compared to flies developed at low density. The hardening-like effect of high larval density carried over to the adult life stage. The hardening memory (the period of increased resistance after hardening) was long compared to hardening of adult flies, and possibly lasts throughout life. The increase in resistance in adults following development at high larval density seemed not to be connected to Hsp70 itself, since Hsp70 expression level in adult flies after hardening was independent of whether larvae developed at low or high densities. More likely, Hsp70 may be one of many components of the stress response resulting in hardening.

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