Fight or flight? – Flight increases immune gene expression but does not help to fight an infection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Flight represents a key trait in most insects, being energetically extremely demanding, yet often necessary for foraging and reproduction. Additionally, dispersal via flight is especially important for species living in fragmented landscapes. Even though, based on life-history theory, a negative relationship may be expected between flight and immunity, a number of previous studies have indicated flight to induce an increased immune response. In this study, we assessed whether induced immunity (i.e. immune gene expression) in response to 15-min forced flight treatment impacts individual survival of bacterial infection in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). We were able to confirm previous findings of flight-induced immune gene expression, but still observed substantially stronger effects on both gene expression levels and life span due to bacterial infection compared to flight treatment. Even though gene expression levels of some immunity-related genes were elevated due to flight, these individuals did not show increased survival of bacterial infection, indicating that flight-induced immune activation does not completely protect them from the negative effects of bacterial infection. Finally, an interaction between flight and immune treatment indicated a potential trade-off: flight treatment increased immune gene expression in naive individuals only, whereas in infected individuals no increase in immune gene expression was induced by flight. Our results suggest that the up-regulation of immune genes upon flight is based on a general stress response rather than reflecting an adaptive response to cope with potential infections during flight or in new habitats.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume30
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
ISSN1010-061X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • gene expression
  • immune response
  • insect flight
  • Melitaea cinxia
  • APOLIPOPHORIN-III
  • NODULE FORMATION
  • INNATE IMMUNITY
  • BOMBYX-MORI
  • ACTIVATION
  • OCTOPAMINE
  • DROSOPHILA
  • DISPERSAL
  • MIGRATION
  • DEFENSE

Cite this

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title = "Fight or flight? – Flight increases immune gene expression but does not help to fight an infection",
abstract = "Flight represents a key trait in most insects, being energetically extremely demanding, yet often necessary for foraging and reproduction. Additionally, dispersal via flight is especially important for species living in fragmented landscapes. Even though, based on life-history theory, a negative relationship may be expected between flight and immunity, a number of previous studies have indicated flight to induce an increased immune response. In this study, we assessed whether induced immunity (i.e. immune gene expression) in response to 15-min forced flight treatment impacts individual survival of bacterial infection in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). We were able to confirm previous findings of flight-induced immune gene expression, but still observed substantially stronger effects on both gene expression levels and life span due to bacterial infection compared to flight treatment. Even though gene expression levels of some immunity-related genes were elevated due to flight, these individuals did not show increased survival of bacterial infection, indicating that flight-induced immune activation does not completely protect them from the negative effects of bacterial infection. Finally, an interaction between flight and immune treatment indicated a potential trade-off: flight treatment increased immune gene expression in naive individuals only, whereas in infected individuals no increase in immune gene expression was induced by flight. Our results suggest that the up-regulation of immune genes upon flight is based on a general stress response rather than reflecting an adaptive response to cope with potential infections during flight or in new habitats.",
keywords = "1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology, gene expression, immune response, insect flight, Melitaea cinxia, APOLIPOPHORIN-III, NODULE FORMATION, INNATE IMMUNITY, BOMBYX-MORI, ACTIVATION, OCTOPAMINE, DROSOPHILA, DISPERSAL, MIGRATION, DEFENSE",
author = "Luisa Woestmann and Kvist, {Jouni Antero} and Saastamoinen, {Marjo Anna Kaarina}",
year = "2017",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1111/jeb.13007",
language = "English",
volume = "30",
pages = "501--511",
journal = "Journal of Evolutionary Biology",
issn = "1010-061X",
publisher = "Wiley",
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}

Fight or flight? – Flight increases immune gene expression but does not help to fight an infection. / Woestmann, Luisa; Kvist, Jouni Antero; Saastamoinen, Marjo Anna Kaarina.

In: Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 30, No. 3, 03.2017, p. 501-511.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Fight or flight? – Flight increases immune gene expression but does not help to fight an infection

AU - Woestmann, Luisa

AU - Kvist, Jouni Antero

AU - Saastamoinen, Marjo Anna Kaarina

PY - 2017/3

Y1 - 2017/3

N2 - Flight represents a key trait in most insects, being energetically extremely demanding, yet often necessary for foraging and reproduction. Additionally, dispersal via flight is especially important for species living in fragmented landscapes. Even though, based on life-history theory, a negative relationship may be expected between flight and immunity, a number of previous studies have indicated flight to induce an increased immune response. In this study, we assessed whether induced immunity (i.e. immune gene expression) in response to 15-min forced flight treatment impacts individual survival of bacterial infection in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). We were able to confirm previous findings of flight-induced immune gene expression, but still observed substantially stronger effects on both gene expression levels and life span due to bacterial infection compared to flight treatment. Even though gene expression levels of some immunity-related genes were elevated due to flight, these individuals did not show increased survival of bacterial infection, indicating that flight-induced immune activation does not completely protect them from the negative effects of bacterial infection. Finally, an interaction between flight and immune treatment indicated a potential trade-off: flight treatment increased immune gene expression in naive individuals only, whereas in infected individuals no increase in immune gene expression was induced by flight. Our results suggest that the up-regulation of immune genes upon flight is based on a general stress response rather than reflecting an adaptive response to cope with potential infections during flight or in new habitats.

AB - Flight represents a key trait in most insects, being energetically extremely demanding, yet often necessary for foraging and reproduction. Additionally, dispersal via flight is especially important for species living in fragmented landscapes. Even though, based on life-history theory, a negative relationship may be expected between flight and immunity, a number of previous studies have indicated flight to induce an increased immune response. In this study, we assessed whether induced immunity (i.e. immune gene expression) in response to 15-min forced flight treatment impacts individual survival of bacterial infection in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). We were able to confirm previous findings of flight-induced immune gene expression, but still observed substantially stronger effects on both gene expression levels and life span due to bacterial infection compared to flight treatment. Even though gene expression levels of some immunity-related genes were elevated due to flight, these individuals did not show increased survival of bacterial infection, indicating that flight-induced immune activation does not completely protect them from the negative effects of bacterial infection. Finally, an interaction between flight and immune treatment indicated a potential trade-off: flight treatment increased immune gene expression in naive individuals only, whereas in infected individuals no increase in immune gene expression was induced by flight. Our results suggest that the up-regulation of immune genes upon flight is based on a general stress response rather than reflecting an adaptive response to cope with potential infections during flight or in new habitats.

KW - 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

KW - gene expression

KW - immune response

KW - insect flight

KW - Melitaea cinxia

KW - APOLIPOPHORIN-III

KW - NODULE FORMATION

KW - INNATE IMMUNITY

KW - BOMBYX-MORI

KW - ACTIVATION

KW - OCTOPAMINE

KW - DROSOPHILA

KW - DISPERSAL

KW - MIGRATION

KW - DEFENSE

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JO - Journal of Evolutionary Biology

JF - Journal of Evolutionary Biology

SN - 1010-061X

IS - 3

ER -