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Authors: Stoldt, Marah
Klein, Linda
Beros, Sara
Butter, Falk
Jongepier, Evelien
Feldmeyer, Barbara
Foitzik, Susanne
Title: Parasite presence induces gene expression changes in an ant host related to immunity and longevity
Online publication date: 9-Nov-2021
Language: english
Abstract: Most species are either parasites or exploited by parasites, making parasite–host interactions a driver of evolution. Parasites with complex life cycles often evolve strategies to facilitate transmission to the definitive host by manipulating their intermediate host. Such manipulations could explain phenotypic changes in the ant Temnothorax nylanderi, the intermediate host of the cestode Anomotaenia brevis. In addition to behavioral and morphological alterations, infected workers exhibit prolonged lifespans, comparable to that of queens, which live up to two decades. We used transcriptomic data from cestodes and ants of different castes and infection status to investigate the molecular underpinnings of phenotypic alterations in infected workers and explored whether the extended lifespan of queens and infected workers has a common molecular basis. Infected workers and queens commonly upregulated only six genes, one of them with a known anti-aging function. Both groups overexpressed immune genes, although not the same ones. Our findings suggest that the lifespan extension of infected workers is not achieved via the expression of queen-specific genes. The analysis of the cestodes’ transcriptome revealed dominant expression of genes of the mitochondrial respiratory transport chain, which indicates an active metabolism and shedding light on the physiology of the parasite in its cysticercoid stage.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Genes
Pages or article number: 95
Publisher: MDPI
Publisher place: Basel
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 2073-4425
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.3390/genes12010095
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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