Mechanisms underpinning the beneficial effects of fluctuating thermal regimes in insect cold tolerance

Abstract : Insects exposed to low temperature often have high mortality or exhibit sublethal effects. A growing number of recent studies have shown beneficial effects of exposing insects to recurrent brief warm pulses during low-temperature stress (fluctuating thermal regime, FTR). The physiological underpinnings of the beneficial effects of FTR on cold survival have been extensively studied over the past few years. Profiling with various '-omics' techniques has provided supporting evidence for different physiological responses between insects exposed to FTR and constant low temperature. Evidence from transcriptomic, metabolomic and lipidomic studies points to a system-wide loss of homeostasis at low temperature that can be counterbalanced by repair mechanisms under FTR. Although there has been considerable progress in understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of FTR, here we discuss how many areas still lack clarity, such as the precise role(s) of heat shock proteins, compatible solutes or the identification of regulators and key players involved in the observed homeostatic responses. FTR can be particularly beneficial in applied settings, such as for model insects used in research, integrated pest management and pollination services. We also explain how the application of FTR techniques in large-scale facilities may require overcoming some logistical and technical constraints. FTR definitively enhances survival at low temperature in insects, but before it can be widely used, we suggest that the possible fitness and energy costs of FTR must be explored more thoroughly. Although FTR is not ecologically relevant, similar processes may operate in settings where temperatures fluctuate naturally.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Friday, August 24, 2018 - 11:40:29 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 1, 2019 - 11:42:07 AM

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Hervé Colinet, Joseph P. Rinehart, George D. Yocum, Kendra J. Greenlee. Mechanisms underpinning the beneficial effects of fluctuating thermal regimes in insect cold tolerance. Journal of Experimental Biology, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 221 (14), pp.jeb164806. ⟨10.1242/jeb.164806⟩. ⟨hal-01861278⟩

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