Variation in Hsp70 levels after cold shock: signs of evolutionary responses to thermal selection among Leptinotarsa decemlineata populations.
Individuals of widely spread species are expected to show local adaption in temperature tolerance as they encounter a range of thermal conditions. We tracked thermal adaptations of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) that invaded Europe within the last 100 years. It has occupied various conditions although, like the majority of invasive species, it lost a measurable amount of neutral genetic variation due to bottleneck effect when it invaded Europe. We exposed diapausing beetles originated from three different latitudes (54°N, 59°N, 60°N) to cold shock (-5°C, 1.5 hrs) in order to test if beetles from the northern populations express differential levels of cold-induced and constitutive Hsp70 compared to the beetles from milder temperature regime. The level of cold-induced Hsp70 was lowest in the northernmost beetle populations while the level of constitutive Hsp70 did not differ with the population. Moreover, the southernmost beetles were more plastic in their response to cold shock than the northernmost beetles. These results suggest that physiological adaptation, like the synthesis of Hsp70, can evolve very quickly.