The transcriptomic and proteomic responses of Daphnia pulex to changes in temperature and food supply comprise environment-specific and clone-specific elements

Dörthe Becker, John K. Colbourne, Yann Reydelet, Jacqueline A. Lopez, Craig Jackson, Susan Hawat, Michael Hippler, Bettina Zeis, Rüdiger J. Paul*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Regulatory adjustments to acute and chronic temperature changes are highly important for aquatic ectotherms because temperature affects their metabolic rate as well as the already low oxygen concentration in water, which can upset their energy balance. This also applies to severe changes in food supply. Thus, we studied on a molecular level (transcriptomics and/or proteomics) the immediate responses to heat stress and starvation and the acclimation to different temperatures in two clonal isolates of the model microcrustacean Daphnia pulex from more or less stressful environments, which showed a higher (clone M) or lower (clone G) tolerance to heat and starvation. Results: The transcriptomic responses of clone G to acute heat stress (from 20 °C to 30 °C) and temperature acclimation (10 °C, 20 °C, and 24 °C) and the proteomic responses of both clones to acute heat, starvation, and heat-and-starvation stress comprised environment-specific and clone-specific elements. Acute stress (in particular heat stress) led to an early upregulation of stress genes and proteins (e.g., molecular chaperones) and a downregulation of metabolic genes and proteins (e.g., hydrolases). The transcriptomic responses to temperature acclimation differed clearly. They also varied depending on the temperature level. Acclimation to higher temperatures comprised an upregulation of metabolic genes and, in case of 24 °C acclimation, a downregulation of genes for translational processes and collagens. The proteomic responses of the clones M and G differed at any type of stress. Clone M showed markedly stronger and less stress-specific proteomic responses than clone G, which included the consistent expression of a specific heat shock protein (HSP60) and vitellogenin (VTG-SOD). Conclusions: The expression changes under acute stress can be interpreted as a switch from standard products of gene expression to stress-specific products. The expression changes under temperature acclimation probably served for an increase in energy intake (via digestion) and, if necessary, a decrease in energy expenditures (e.g, for translational processes). The stronger and less stress-specific proteomic responses of clone M indicate a lower degree of cell damage and an active preservation of the energy balance, which allowed adequate proteomic responses under stress, including the initiation of resting egg production (VTG-SOD expression) as an emergency reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number376
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2018


  • Collagen
  • Heat shock protein
  • Heat stress
  • Hydrolase
  • Protein biosynthesis
  • Starvation
  • Stress protein
  • Temperature acclimation
  • Vitellogenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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