Dec 22, 2006

Control of canalization and evolvability by Hsp90

PloS One
Claire C MiltonS L Rutherford


Partial reduction of Hsp90 increases expression of morphological novelty in qualitative traits of Drosophila and Arabidopsis, but the extent to which the Hsp90 chaperone also controls smaller and more likely adaptive changes in natural quantitative traits has been unclear. To determine the effect of Hsp90 on quantitative trait variability we deconstructed genetic, stochastic and environmental components of variation in Drosophila wing and bristle traits of genetically matched flies, differing only by Hsp90 loss-of-function or wild-type alleles. Unexpectedly, Hsp90 buffering was remarkably specific to certain normally invariant and highly discrete quantitative traits. Like the qualitative trait phenotypes controlled by Hsp90, highly discrete quantitative traits such as scutellor and thoracic bristle number are threshold traits. When tested across genotypes sampled from a wild population or in laboratory strains, the sensitivity of these traits to many types of variation was coordinately controlled, while continuously variable bristle types and wing size, and critically invariant left-right wing asymmetry, remained relatively unaffected. Although increased environmental variation and developmental noise would impede many types of...Continue Reading

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Biological Regulation
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Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases

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