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Effects of adult temperature on gene expression in a butterfly: identifying pathways associated with thermal acclimation
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Number of Authors: 102019 (English)In: BMC Evolutionary Biology, ISSN 1471-2148, E-ISSN 1471-2148, Vol. 19, article id 32Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Phenotypic plasticity is a pervasive property of all organisms and considered to be of key importance for dealing with environmental variation. Plastic responses to temperature, which is one of the most important ecological factors, have received much attention over recent decades. A recurrent pattern of temperature-induced adaptive plasticity includes increased heat tolerance after exposure to warmer temperatures and increased cold tolerance after exposure to cooler temperatures. However, the mechanisms underlying these plastic responses are hitherto not well understood. Therefore, we here investigate effects of adult acclimation on gene expression in the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana, using an RNAseq approach.

Results: We show that several antioxidant markers (e.g. peroxidase, cytochrome P450) were up-regulated at a higher temperature compared with a lower adult temperature, which might play an important role in the acclamatory responses subsequently providing increased heat tolerance. Furthermore, several metabolic pathways were up-regulated at the higher temperature, likely reflecting increased metabolic rates. In contrast, we found no evidence for a decisive role of the heat shock response.

Conclusions: Although the important role of antioxidant defence mechanisms in alleviating detrimental effects of oxidative stress is firmly established, we speculate that its potentially important role in mediating heat tolerance and survival under stress has been underestimated thus far and thus deserves more attention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 19, article id 32
Keywords [en]
Bicyclus anynana, Heat tolerance, Oxidative stress, Phenotypic plasticity, RNAseq, Transcriptome
National Category
Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166797DOI: 10.1186/s12862-019-1362-yISI: 000456525800001PubMedID: 30674272OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166797DiVA, id: diva2:1295517
Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2019-03-12Bibliographically approved

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Wheat, Christopher W.
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