Regulation of heat shock gene induction and expression during Drosophila development
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Some heat shock genes are expressed in the absence of stress during embryogenesis and metamorphosis in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Their functions in these processes are unknown. During development, each of the four members of the small heat shock protein family (Hsp27, Hsp26, Hsp23 and Hsp22), which are coordinately induced in response to a heat stress, shows a specific pattern of expression in diverse tissues and cells. This expression is driven through cell-specific enhancers in the promoter regions of their genes. In addition, some of the Hsps show cell-specific induction by heat shock. Hsp23, for example, is only inducible in a single cell type (cone cells) of the eye ommatidium, while the other small Hsps are inducible in all cells of the eye unit. In germ line tissues such as testes, Hsp23 and 27 are both readily expressed in the absence of stress (albeit in distinct cell lineages) and cannot be further induced by heat shock. Hsp27 is expressed throughout oogenesi s, but its intracellular localization is stage-specific, being nuclear from germarium to stage 6 and cytoplasmic from stage 8 onwards. Finally the small Hsps show tissue-specific post-translational modifications. Thus the function(s) of the small Hsps may be modulated by different cell and developmental stage-specific mechanisms operating either on their expression, their cellular localization or their structure by post-translational modifications.
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