Temporal regulation of temperature tolerances and gene expression in an arctic insect

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Terrestrial arthropods in the Arctic are exposed to highly variable temperatures that frequently reach cold and warm extremes. Yet, ecophysiological studies on arctic insects typically focus on the ability of species to tolerate low temperatures, whereas studies investigating physiological adaptations of species to periodically warm and variable temperatures are few. In this study, we investigated temporal changes in thermal tolerances and the transcriptome in the Greenlandic seed bug Nysius groenlandicus, collected in the field across different times and temperatures in Southern Greenland. We found that plastic changes in heat and cold tolerances occurred rapidly (within hours) and at a daily scale in the field, and that these changes are correlated with diurnal temperature variation. Using RNA sequencing, we provide molecular underpinnings of the rapid adjustments in thermal tolerance across ambient field temperatures and in the laboratory. We show that transcriptional responses are sensitive to daily temperature changes, and days characterized by high temperature variation induced markedly different expression patterns than thermally stable days. Further, genes associated with laboratory-induced heat responses, including expression of heat shock proteins and vitellogenins, were shared across laboratory and field experiments, but induced at time points associated with lower temperatures in the field. Cold stress responses were not manifested at the transcriptomic level.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb245097
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Arctic arthropods
  • Climate change
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • RNA sequencing
  • Thermal tolerance


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