Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs), or α-crystalline, are low-molecular weight proteins found in every kingdom and nearly every species examined to date. Many, if not all, sHSPs act as molecular chaperones. Several also have functions independent of their chaperone activity, and at least a few are expressed in specific spatiotemporal patterns during embryonic and/or juvenile stages, suggesting specific roles during development. To date, however, no one has systematically characterized the expression patterns of all of the sHSPs during development in any organism. We have characterized the normal heat shock-induced expression patterns of all 13 zebrafish sHSPs during development. Seven of the sHSPs are expressed in a tissue-specific manner during development, and five are upregulated by heat shock. The results of these studies provide a foundation for analysis of sHSP function during normal development and their roles in protecting cells from the effects environmental stressors.
- Heat shock
- Mid-hindbrain boundary