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J Insect Physiol. 2011 Nov;57(11):1480-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2011.07.017. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Protein expression following heat shock in the nervous system of Locusta migratoria.

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


There is a thermal range for the operation of neural circuits beyond which nervous system function is compromised. Locusta migratoria is native to the semiarid regions of the world and provides an excellent model for studying neural phenomena. In this organism previous exposure to sublethal high temperatures (heat shock, HS) can protect neuronal function against future hyperthermia but, unlike many organisms, the profound physiological adaptations are not accompanied by a robust increase of Hsp70 transcript or protein in the nervous system. We compared Hsp70 increase following HS in the tissues of isolated and gregarious locusts to investigate the effect of population density. We also localized Hsp70 in the metathoracic ganglion (MTG) of gregarious locusts to determine if HS affects Hsp70 in specific cell types that could be masked in whole ganglion assays. Our study indicated no evidence of a consistent change in Hsp70 level in the MTG of isolated locusts following HS. Also, Hsp70 was mainly localized in perineurium, neural membranes and glia and prior HS had no effect on its density or distribution. Finally, we applied 2-D gels to study the proteomic profile of MTG in gregarious locusts following HS; although these experiments showed some changes in the level of ATP-synthase β isoforms, the overall amount of this protein was found unchanged following HS. We conclude that the constitutive level of Hsps in the tissues of locusts is high. Also the thermoprotective effect of HS on the nervous system might be mediated by post-translational modifications or protein trafficking.

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