The threshold induction temperature of the 90-kDa heat shock protein is subject to acclimatization in eurythermal goby fishes (genus Gillichthys).
Two extremely eurythermal goby fishes, Gillichthys mirabilis and Gillichthys seta, which encounter habitat temperature variations of approximately 30 degrees C, showed seasonal acclimatization of endogenous levels and of onset temperatures for enhanced synthesis of a 90-kDa-class heat shock protein (HSP90). Summer-acclimatized fishes had higher levels of HSP90 in brain tissue than winter-acclimatized specimens, as shown by Western blot analysis. For winter-acclimatized fishes, increased synthesis of HSP90 was observed when the temperature was raised from a control temperature (18 degrees C) to 28 degrees C. For summer-acclimatized fish, no significantly increased synthesis of HSP90 occurred until the experimental temperature was raised to 32 degrees C. These data suggest that the threshold temperature at which enhanced expression of HSP-encoding genes occurs is not hard-wired genetically but may be subject to acclimatization. A causal relationship between seasonal changes in steady-state levels of HSP90 and the threshold temperature for enhanced HSP90 synthesis is discussed in terms of existing models for the regulation of HSP gene expression.