The aim of the present study was to investigate the stress effect of both temperature and cadmium exposure on two close species of earthworms, Eisenia fetida and Eisenia andrei also known as manure worms by the immunological study of heat-shock proteins hsp60 and hsp70 using SDS-PAGE and Western blotting with commercial antibodies.
The results revealed that heat and Cd stresses were responsible for the differential expression of proteins. In fact, the responses were shown to be different between species and to be stress dependent. However, the proteins detected, using monoclonal antibodies directed to hsp60 or hsp70, were shown to differ from the components expected by their molecular weights. Such results were already reported in various invertebrates and two hypothesis could be formulated to explain them. The first explanation is that these molecules are breakdown products of real hsps. The second explanation is that the molecules detected were not hsps but other proteins. Whatever is the true explanation, the results obtained revealed, at least, that stress can be appreciated in earthworms via immunological methods. In addition, these results showed clearly that these two close species react differently towards a given stress and thus can be differentiated one from the other on this basis. However the identity of the components detected has now to be determined.
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