Survival and gene expression under different temperature and humidity regimes in ants
Stucki, Dimitri; Freitak, Dalial; Sundström, Liselotte (2017). Survival and gene expression under different temperature and humidity regimes in ants. PLoS ONE, 12 (7), e0181137. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181137
Published inPLoS ONE
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaBiologisten vuorovaikutusten huippututkimusyksikköEcology and Evolutionary BiologyCenter of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research
© 2017 Stucki et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Short term variation in environmental conditions requires individuals to adapt via changes in behavior and/or physiology. In particular variation in temperature and humidity are common, and the physiological adaptation to changes in temperature and humidity often involves alterations in gene expression, in particular that of heat-shock proteins. However, not only traits involved in the resistance to environmental stresses, but also other traits, such as immune defenses, may be influenced indirectly by changes in temperature and humidity. Here we investigated the response of the ant F. exsecta to two temperature regimes (20°C & 25°C), and two humidity regimes (50% & 75%), for two populations. We measured the survival and the expression of six metabolism- and immunity-related genes, and furthermore compared the expression levels in each condition with the pre-experiment expression levels. Both populations survived equally well at the two humidities, but one population showed higher mortality at 25°C than 20°, at 50% humidity. Similarly, the two populations showed striking differences in their gene expression before the experiment, and in their responses to the environmental conditions. Surprisingly, instead of converging to similar expression levels in the same environmental conditions, gene expression diverged further apart. This indicates different reaction norms to both temperature and humidity for the two populations. Furthermore, our results suggest that also immune defenses are indirectly affected by environmental conditions. ...