A naturally occurring variant of Hsp90 that is associated with decanalization

Carla Sgro, Benjamin Wegener, Ary Hoffmann

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The heat shock protein Hsp90 has been the focus of many studies since it was suggested that it acts to mediate the buffering of phenotypic variation. Hsp90-mediated buffering may result in the accumulation of cryptic genetic variation that, when released either as a consequence of environmental or genetic stress, increases the evolvability of a population. Recent studies using laboratory-induced mutations of Hsp90 and/or chemical inhibition to disrupt Hsp90 function confirm that Hsp90 can buffer cryptic genetic variation. We have previously identified a naturally occurring variant in the charged linker region of the Hsp90 gene, and now examine whether this variant is associated with altered levels of trait variability. The variant is associated with the release of cryptic genetic variation for canalized morphological (bristle) traits, but not for uncanalized morphological (wing and bristle) traits, and the effect on canalized traits depends on culture temperature. This suggests that natural genetic variation in Hsp90 may mediate the evolution of canalized morphological traits even if it does not influence the expression of variation for uncanalized traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2049 - 2057
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1690
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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