Flexibility in the regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis is an important mediator of stress resilience as it helps organisms adjust to, avoid, or compensate for acute and chronic challenges across changing environmental contexts. Glucocorticoids remain the favorite metric from medicine to conservation biology to attempt to quantify stress resilience despite the skepticism around their consistency in relation to individual health, welfare, and fitness. We suggest that a cochaperone molecule related to heat shock proteins and involved in glucocorticoid receptor activity, FKBP5, may mediate HPA flexibility and therefore stress resilience because it affects how individuals can regulate glucocorticoids and therefore capacitates their abilities to adjust phenotypes appropriately to prevailing, adverse conditions. Although the molecule is well studied in the biomedical literature, FKBP5 research in wild vertebrates is limited. In the present article, we highlight the potential major role of FKBP5 as mediator of HPA axis flexibility in response to adversity in humans and lab rodents.

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