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Hormesis-like effect of mild larval crowding on thermotolerance in Drosophila flies

Abstract : Crowding is a complex stress that can affect organisms' physiology, especially through decreased food quality and accessibility. Here, we evaluated the effect of larval density on several biological traits of An increasing gradient, from 1 to 1000 eggs per milliliter of food, was used to characterize life-history traits variations. Crowded conditions resulted in striking decreases of fresh mass (up to 6-fold) and viability, as well as delayed development. Next, we assessed heat and cold tolerance in L3 larvae reared at three selected larval densities: low (LD, 5 eggs ml), medium (MD, 60 eggs ml) and high (HD, 300 eggs ml). LT values of MD and, to a lesser extent, HD larvae were repeatedly higher than those from LD larvae, under both heat and cold stress. We investigated potential physiological correlates associated with this density-dependent thermotolerance shift. No marked pattern could be drawn from the expression of stress-related genes. However, a metabolomic analysis differentiated the metabotypes of the three density levels, with potential candidates associated with this clustering (e.g. glucose 6-phosphate, GABA, sugars and polyols). Under HD, signs of oxidative stress were noted but not confirmed at the transcriptional level. Finally, urea, a common metabolic waste, was found to accumulate substantially in food from MD and HD larvae. When supplemented in food, urea stimulated cold tolerance but reduced heat tolerance in LD larvae. This study highlights that larval crowding is an important environmental parameter that induces drastic consequences on flies' physiology and can affect thermotolerance in a density-specific way.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 26, 2018 - 4:50:08 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 4:35:49 PM

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Henry Youn, D Renault, Hervé Colinet. Hormesis-like effect of mild larval crowding on thermotolerance in Drosophila flies. Journal of Experimental Biology, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 221 (2), pp.jeb169342. ⟨10.1242/jeb.169342⟩. ⟨hal-01717751⟩



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