Heat shock protein (HSP) is a very conservative group of proteins expressed in response to stress in organisms or cells in culture. There are four major HSP gene families in insects: small HSP, HSP60, HSP70, and HSP83. To gain insight into the various functions of the HSP70 family genes in response to stress in insects, two new HSP70 cDNAs were cloned from the multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) (hereafter Harax when referring to genes, proteins, or cDNAs). HaraxHSP68 has an open reading frame (ORF) of 638 amino acids and an isoelectric point (pI) of 6.53. HaraxHSP70B has an ORF of 661 amino acids and a pI of 6.20. HaraxHSP70A, obtained in earlier work, has an ORF of 651 amino acids and a pI of 5.36. HSP70 proteins have the three signatures IDLGTTYSCVGV, IFDLGGGTFDVSIL, and IVLVGGSTRIPKIQ; the signature ATP/GTP binding site motif AEAYLG(K/T)T; and an MEEVD motif at the C terminus. The three HSP70 proteins do not have a high degree of similarity, however, and HaraxHSP70B can be distinguished clearly from the other HSP70 proteins. HaraxHSP68 was found to be highly expressed in the early larval stages. HaraxHSP70A is highly expressed and HaraxHSP70A is moderately expressed in both the pupal and adult stages. In general, relative levels of expression of the three genes increased with increasing temperature, and HaraxHSP70B was highly expressed at 0°C. The relative expression levels of the three HSP70 genes reached a maximum after starvation for 8 h. These results revealed the three HSP70 proteins might have significant function(s) during development, heating, and starvation.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3