Fluctuations in the stress level of an organism are expressed in behavioural and molecular changes that can affect its ecology and survival. Our knowledge of thermal adaptations in deep-sea organisms is very limited, and this study investigates the critical thermal maximum (CTmax) and the heat-shock response (HSR) in the deep-sea crab Chaceon affinis commonly found in waters of the North East Atlantic. A mild but significant HSR in C. affinis was noted and one of the lowest CTmax known amongst Crustacea was revealed (27.5 °C at 0.1 MPa; 28.5 °C at 10 MPa). The thermal sensitivity of this species appears to be reduced at in situ pressure (10 MPa), given the slightly higher CTmax and the significant 3-fold induction of stress genes hsp70 form 1 and hsp70 form 2. Although C. affinis deep-sea habitat is characterized by overall low temperature this species appears to have retained its ability to induce a HSR. This capability may be linked with C. affinis' occasional exploitation of warmer and thermally instable hydrothermal vent fields, where it has been found foraging for food.
Keywords: CTmax; Crustacea; Heat-shock response; High pressure; Stenothermy; hsp70.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.