Cell Biology

Wholesale Heat Shock

Science Signaling  13 May 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 19, pp. ec180
DOI: 10.1126/stke.119ec180

Exposure to increased temperature can damage cells, and individual cells respond to heat shock by synthesizing protective chaperone proteins that help maintain proper protein folding. Prahlad et al. report experiments in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans that show an organism-wide, rather than cell-autonomous, response to heat shock. Synthesis of heat shock proteins was inhibited in animals carrying mutations that disrupt the function of a sensory neuron previously known to respond to increased temperature and influence behavior. The heat shock response was also altered in response to dauer pheromone, which regulates growth and metabolism. Thus, C. elegans appears to possess a regulatory system that coordinates the organismal heat shock response with multiple environmental cues.

V. Prahlad, T. Cornelius, R. I. Morimoto, Regulation of the cellular heat shock response in Caenorhabditis elegans by thermosensory neurons. Science 320, 811-814 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]