To protect cells from the damaging effects of environmental stresses, all organisms possess a universal stress response involving upregulation of heat shock proteins (Hsps). The mechanisms underlying chilling injuries and the subsequent recovery phase are only beginning to be understood in insects. Hsp22 and Hsp23 are both upregulated during the recovery from prolonged chill coma in Drosophila melanogaster. This prompted us to investigate the functional significance of these modulations by testing whether expression of these two small Hsps is necessary for recovery after cold stress. We used the GAL4/UAS system to separately knock down expression of Hsp22 and Hsp23, and assayed three aspects of recovery performance in transgenic adults that had undergone 12 h of chill coma at 0°C. The time to recover (short-term recovery) and mobility parameters (mediumterm recovery) were significantly impaired in the transgenic flies in which Hsp22 or Hsp23 was suppressed. Our findings show that both Hsp22 and Hsp23 play important roles in the recovery from chill coma in adult males, and suggest that these contribute to adaptive responses to fluctuating thermal conditions.
- Chill coma