Crawford, K.C., Flores, M.V., Oehlers, S.H., Hall, C.J., Crosier, K.E., and Crosier, P.S. (2011) Zebrafish heat shock protein a4 genes in the intestinal epithelium are up-regulated during inflammation. Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000). 49(12):905-11.
A number of heat shock proteins (HSPs), including Hsp70 and Hsp110, function as molecular chaperones within intestinal epithelial cells that line the mammalian digestive system. HSPs confer cellular protection against environmental stress induced by chemical toxins or pathogens. There is interest in how members of this protein family might influence the progression of inflammatory bowel disease. Using the zebrafish model system, we report the expression of the duplicated hspa4 genes within the intestinal epithelium. The hspa4 genes belong to the Hsp110 family. We show that under inflammatory stress conditions within the gut, expression of these genes is up-regulated in a similar manner to that previously observed for mammalian Hsp70. Because of the amenability of the zebrafish to whole-animal screening protocols, the hspa4 genes could be used as effective read-outs for genetic, chemical and environmental factors that might influence intestinal inflammation.