Early-life hypoxia alters adult physiology and reduces stress resistance and lifespan in Drosophila

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
D. M. PolanSavraj Grewal

Abstract

In many animals, short-term fluctuations in environmental conditions in early life often exert long-term effects on adult physiology. In Drosophila, one ecologically relevant environmental variable is hypoxia. Drosophila larvae live on rotting, fermenting food rich in microorganisms, an environment characterized by low ambient oxygen. They have therefore evolved to tolerate hypoxia. While the acute effects of hypoxia in larvae have been well studied, whether early-life hypoxia affects adult physiology and fitness is less clear. Here we show that Drosophila exposed to hypoxia during their larval period subsequently show reduced starvation stress resistance and shorter lifespan as adults, with these effects being stronger in males. We find that these effects are associated with reduced whole-body insulin signaling but elevated TOR kinase activity, a manipulation known to reduce lifespan. We also identify a sexually dimorphic effect of larval hypoxia on adult nutrient storage and mobilization. Thus, we find that males, but not females, showing elevated levels of lipids and glycogen. Moreover, we see that both males and females exposed to hypoxia as larvae show defective lipid mobilization upon starvation stress as adults. These da...Continue Reading

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