Induction of Hsp70 by desiccation, ionising radiation and heat-shock in the eutardigrade Richtersius coronifer

Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Apr;146(4):456-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2006.10.111. Epub 2006 Dec 13.


The physiology and biochemistry behind the extreme tolerance to desiccation shown by the so-called anhydrobiotic animals represents an exciting challenge to biology. The current knowledge suggests that both carbohydrates and proteins are often involved in protecting the dry cell from damage, or in the repair of induced damage. Tardigrades belong to the most desiccation-tolerant multicellular organisms, but very little research has been reported on the biochemistry behind desiccation tolerance in this group. We quantified the induction of the heat-shock protein Hsp70, a very wide-spread stress protein, in response to desiccation, ionising radiation, and heating, in the anhydrobiotic tardigrade Richtersius coronifer using an immuno-westernblot method. Elevated levels of Hsp70 were recorded after treatment of both heat and ionising radiation, and also in rehydrated tardigrades after a period of desiccation. In contrast, tardigrades in the desiccated (dry) state had reduced Hsp70 levels compared to the non-treated control group. Our results suggest that Hsp70 may be involved in the physiological and biochemical system underlying desiccation (and radiation) tolerance in tardigrades, and that its role may be connected to repair processes after desiccation rather than to biochemical stabilization in the dry state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dehydration
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / radiation effects
  • Heat-Shock Response / physiology*
  • Invertebrates / physiology*
  • Invertebrates / radiation effects*
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Radiation, Ionizing


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins