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Authors: Choppin, Marina
Feldmeyer, Barbara
Foitzik, Susanne
Title: Histone acetylation regulates the expression of genes involved in worker reproduction in the ant Temnothorax rugatulus
Online publication date: 22-Jun-2022
Year of first publication: 2021
Language: english
Abstract: BACKGROUND In insect societies, queens monopolize reproduction while workers perform tasks such as brood care or foraging. Queen loss leads to ovary development and lifespan extension in workers of many ant species. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of this phenotypic plasticity remain unclear. Recent studies highlight the importance of epigenetics in regulating plastic traits in social insects. Thus, we investigated the role of histone acetylation in regulating worker reproduction in the ant Temnothorax rugatulus. We removed queens from their colonies to induce worker fecundity, and either fed workers with chemical inhibitors of histone acetylation (C646), deacetylation (TSA), or the solvent (DMSO) as control. We monitored worker number for six weeks after which we assessed ovary development and sequenced fat body mRNA. RESULTS Workers survived better in queenless colonies. They also developed their ovaries after queen removal in control colonies as expected, but not in colonies treated with the chemical inhibitors. Both inhibitors affected gene expression, although the inhibition of histone acetylation using C646 altered the expression of more genes with immunity, fecundity, and longevity functionalities. Interestingly, these C646-treated workers shared many upregulated genes with infertile workers from queenright colonies. We also identified one gene with antioxidant properties commonly downregulated in infertile workers from queenright colonies and both C646 and TSA-treated workers from queenless colonies. CONCLUSION Our results suggest that histone acetylation is involved in the molecular regulation of worker reproduction, and thus point to an important role of histone modifications in modulating phenotypic plasticity of life history traits in social insects.
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: BMC genomics
Pages or article number: 871
Publisher: BioMed Central
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 1471-2164
Publisher DOI: 10.1186/s12864-021-08196-8
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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