Deep transcriptome analysis of the heat shock response in an Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) cell line
Despite efforts to restore Atlantic sturgeon in European rivers, aquaculture techniques result in animals with high post-release mortality due to, among other reasons, their low tolerance to increasing water temperature. Marker genes to monitor heat stress are needed in order to identify heat-resistant fish. Therefore, an Atlantic sturgeon cell line was exposed to different heat shock protocols (30 °C and 35 °C) and differences in gene expression were investigated. In total 3020 contigs (∼1.5%) were differentially expressed. As the core of the upregulated contigs corresponded to heat shock proteins (HSP), the heat shock factor (HSF) and the HSP gene families were annotated in Atlantic sturgeon and mapped via Illumina RNA sequencing to identify heat-inducible family members. Up to 6 hsf and 76 hsp genes were identified in the Atlantic sturgeon transcriptome resources, 16 of which were significantly responsive to the applied heat shock. The previously studied hspa1 (hsp70) gene was only significantly upregulated at the highest heat shock (35 °C), while a set of 5 genes (hspc1, hsph3a, hspb1b, hspb11a, and hspb11b) was upregulated at all conditions. Although the hspc1 (hsp90a) gene was previously used as heat shock-marker in sturgeons, we found that hspb11a is the most heat-inducible gene, with up to 3296-fold higher expression in the treated cells, constituting the candidate gene markers for in vivo trials.