Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Differential expression patterns among heat-shock protein genes and thermal responses in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (MEAM 1).

Abstract

There is convincing evidence that heat-shock proteins (HSP) are upregulated by stress conditions in insects; however, the relative contribution of each HSP gene to the heat-shock response remains unclear. Here we considered the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (MEAM 1), a phloem feeder and invasive species whose molecular stress response is an important mechanism for overcoming heat stress. We assessed the expression of the hsp23, 40, 70 and 90 genes at the mRNA level when submitted to heat shocks of 40 and 44°C/1 h (control at 25°C). For this, we evaluated a set of available and suitable reference genes in order to perform data normalization using the real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) technique, and then confirmed the production of HSP70 protein based on Western blot. Results were compared with the hardening capacity of B. tabaci, measured by fitness components as a response to heat shocks, using 40°C as the induction temperature. Three of the four genes (hsp23, 70 and 90) were upregulated by heat stress at mRNA, showing differential expression patterns. Hsp70 expression was confirmed at the protein level. Hardening significantly increased fitness following heat stress, suggesting that HSPs may contribute to hardening capacity in B. tabaci. Potential role of each gene in the heat-shock response for whiteflies is discussed.