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Microevolution or wide tolerance? Level of stress proteins in the beet armyworm Spodoptera eqigua hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) exposed to cadmium for over 150 generations

Tarnawska, Monika, Kafel, Alina, Augustyniak, Maria, Rost-Roszkowska, Magdalena, Babczyńska, Agnieszka
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2019 v.178 pp. 1-8
Spodoptera exigua, cadmium, heat shock proteins, insects, larvae, midgut, protective effect, protein content, pupae, rearing
The aim of this study was to investigate whether the cadmium tolerance developed in the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua selected for over 150 generations may be related to synthesis of the stress proteins metallothioneins (Mts) and 70 kDa heat shock proteins (HSP70). To achieve this, six S. exigua strains (control, k), 150-generation Cd exposure strain (cd), and four 18-generation Cd exposure strains differing in Cd concentration (cd44, cd22, cd11, cd5) were reared. Stress protein level was measured in the midgut of the 5th larval stage after 1–6, 12 and 18 generations. Cd contents was measured in the pupae. Unlike Cd concentration, which depended on metal contents in food but was not generation-dependent, the pattern of Mts and HSP70 concentrations changed in experimental strains from generation to generation. Stress protein levels in the insects exposed to the highest Cd concentration (the same as in the 150-generation Cd exposure strain), initially higher than in the control strain, after the 12th generation did not differ from the level measured in the control strains. It seems therefore that stress proteins play a protective role in insects of lower tolerance to cadmium. The tolerance developed during multigenerational exposure probably relies on mechanisms other than Mt and HSP70 synthesis.