Over-activation of the Drosophila melanogaster hsp83 gene by selenium intoxication
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Selenium is an important dietary micronutrient and an essential component of selenoproteins and the active sites of some enzymes, although at high concentrations it is toxic. We investigated diphenyl diselenide ((C 6 H 5 ) 2 Se 2 ) for its effects on the developmental stages of Drosophila melanogaster and found that in the larval and pupae stages the toxic threshold for this compound when added to the banana-agar medium on which the larva were fed was 350 μmol. In adult flies, fed on the same
... , fed on the same media, there were no observable toxic effects below 500 μmol but there were toxic effects above 600 μmol, indicating that adult flies were more resistant to selenium intoxication. In larvae, a when diphenyl diselenide was present above the toxic threshold there was increased activation of the hsp83 heat shock protein gene. Selenium promotes oxidation of sulfhydryl groups and affects the folding of proteins and this could explain the over-expression of hsp83 because the product of this gene is involved in protein folding and defense responses, including the response to heat shock.