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Exp Gerontol. 2007 Dec;42(12):1123-9. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

Sex specific effects of heat induced hormesis in Hsf-deficient Drosophila melanogaster.

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Aarhus Centre for Environmental Stress Research, Genetics and Ecology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade, Building 1540, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


In insects mild heat stress early in life has been reported to increase life span and heat resistance later in life, a phenomenon termed hormesis. Here, we test if the induction of the heat shock response by mild heat stress is mediating hormesis in longevity and heat resistance at older age. To test this hypothesis we used two heat shock transcription factor (Hsf) mutant stocks. One stock harbours a mutation giving rise to a heat sensitive Hsf which inactivates the heat shock response at high temperature and the other is a rescued mutant giving rise to a wild-type phenotype. We measured longevity, heat resistance and expression level of a heat shock protein, Hsp70, in controls and mildly heat treated flies. We found a marked difference between males and females with males showing a beneficial effect of the early heat treatment on longevity and heat resistance later in life in the rescued line, seemingly mediated by the production of heat shock proteins (Hsps). The results indicate that heat inducible Hsps are important for heat induced hormesis in longevity and heat stress resistance. However, the results also suggest that other processes are involved and that different mechanisms might have marked sex specific impact.

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