Changed gene expression for candidate ageing genes in long-lived Bicyclus anynana butterflies

J. Pijpe, N. Pul, S. van Duijn, P.M. Brakefield, B.J. Zwaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Candidate genes for the regulation of lifespan have emerged from studies that use mutants and genetically manipulated model organisms. However, it is rarely addressed whether these genes contribute to lifespan variation in populations of these species that capture natural standing genetic variation. Here, we explore expression variation in three candidate ageing genes, Indy, sod2, and catalase, in Bicyclus anynana, a butterfly with well understood ecology. We used lines established from natural populations and artificially selected for increased adult starvation resistance. They show a considerable increase in adult lifespan under both starvation and optimal food conditions. We measured adult butterflies of various ages, under a range of optimal and starvation diets, from two selected populations and one unselected control population. In all lines, Indy and catalase are up-regulated in response to starvation while this is not evident for sod2. Under starvation, Indy and catalase are up-regulated in, while this is not evident for sod2. Under optimal food conditions, Indy is down-regulated at a later age, with Indy expression showing relatively high inter-individual variation. We find differences between the selected lines and the unselected line. Under starvation conditions, expression is higher for catalase in one, and for sod2 in both selected lines. Importantly, sod2 expression is also higher in the selected populations under optimal food conditions. We conclude that sod2, but not Indy, is involved in the response to artificial selection for increased starvation resistance. The role of catalase is less clear because of the differences between the two selected lines. Moreover, sod2 appears to be a candidate gene that underpins the genetic correlation between starvation resistance and longevity. Our study indicates that some, but not all, genes identified through mutant screens in other organisms may underpin standing genetic variation for ageing-related traits in stocks of Bicyclus butterflies established from natural populations. Clearly, this needs to be investigated in other organisms as well, especially in the organisms to which mutants screens were applied. This information will narrow down the list of genes that underpin variation in lifespan and ageing in extant populations of organisms, and which may serve as candidate genes in humans
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • quantitative trait loci
  • extend life-span
  • drosophila-melanogaster
  • oxidative damage
  • caenorhabditis-elegans
  • starvation resistance
  • adaptive evolution
  • stress resistance
  • natural variation
  • longevity

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