Exposure to heat shock affects thermosensitivity of the locust flight system

J Neurobiol. 1996 Mar;29(3):367-83. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4695(199603)29:3<367::AID-NEU8>3.0.CO;2-7.


The natural habitat of the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, is likely to result in locusts being heat stressed during their normal adult life. It is known that locusts exhibit a heat-shock response: exposure to 45 degrees C for 3 h induces thermotolerance and the expression of heat-shock proteins. We investigated the effects of exposure to heat-shock conditions on the thermosensitivity of flight rhythm generation in tethered, intact animals and in deafferented preparations. Heat shock had no effect on wingbeat frequency measured at the start of flight sequences, nor did it affect the postimaginal maturation of this parameter. During sustained flight, heat shock slowed the characteristic asymptotic reduction of wingbeat frequency. Wingbeat frequency of heat-shocked animals was less sensitive to temperature in the range 24 degrees to 47 degrees C than that of control animals, and the upper temperature limit, above which flight rhythms could not be produced, was 6 degrees to 7 degrees C higher in heat-shocked animals. These results were mirrored in the response of deafferented preparations, indicating that modifications in the properties of the flight neuromuscular system were involved in mediating the response of the intact animal. We propose that exposure to heat shock had the adaptive consequences of reducing thermosensitivity of the neural circuits in the flight system and allowing them to operate at higher temperatures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Denervation
  • Female
  • Flight, Animal / physiology*
  • Grasshoppers / physiology*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Male
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology