Thermal tolerance of the crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus: intraspecific differences at a physiological (CTMax) and molecular level (Hsp70)

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Temperature is one of the most important variables influencing organisms, especially in the intertidal zone. This work aimed to test physiological and molecular intraspecific differences in thermal tolerance of the crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus (Fabricius, 1787). The comparisons made focused on sex, size, and habitat (estuary and coast) differences. The physiological parameter was upper thermal limit, tested via the critical thermal maximum (CTMax) and the molecular parameter was total heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70 and Hsp70 plus Hsc70) production, quantified via an enzyme-linked imunosorbent assay. Results showed that CTMax values and Hsp70 production are higher in females probably due to different microhabitat use and potentially due to different hormonal regulation in males and females. Among females, non-reproducing ones showed a higher CTMax value, but no differences were found in Hsp70, even though reproducing females showed higher variability in Hsp70 amounts. As reproduction takes up a lot of energy, its allocation for other activities, including stress responses, is lower. Juveniles also showed higher CTMax and Hsp70 expression because they occur in greater shore heights and ageing leads to alterations in protein synthesis. Comparing estuarine and coastal crabs, no differences were found in CTMax but coastal crabs produce more Hsp70 than estuarine crabs because they occur in drier and hotter areas than estuarine ones, which occur in moister environments. This work shows the importance of addressing intraspecific differences in the stress response at different organizational levels. This study shows that these differences are key factors in stress research, climate research, and environmental monitoring.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)707-716
JournalCell Stress & Chaperones
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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