Phenotypes, antioxidant responses, and gene expression changes accompanying a sugar-only diet in Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae).

BMC evolutionary biology

PubMedID: 28814277

Chen EH, Hou QL, Wei DD, Jiang HB, Wang JJ. Phenotypes, antioxidant responses, and gene expression changes accompanying a sugar-only diet in Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae). BMC Evol Biol. 2017;17(1):194.
BACKGROUND
Diet composition (yeast:carbohydrate ratio) is an important determinant of growth, development, and reproduction. Recent studies have shown that decreased yeast intake elicits numerous transcriptomic changes and enhances somatic maintenance and lifespan, which in turn reduces reproduction in various insects. However, our understanding of the responses leading to a decrease in yeast ratio to 0% is limited.

RESULTS
In the present study, we investigated the effects of a sugar-only diet (SD) on the gene expression patterns of the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), one of the most economically important pests in the family Tephritidae. RNA sequencing analyses showed that flies reared on an SD induced significant changes in the expression levels of genes associated with specific metabolic as well as cell growth and death pathways. Moreover, the observed upregulated genes in energy production and downregulated genes associated with reproduction suggested that SD affects somatic maintenance and reproduction in B. dorsalis. As expected, we observed that SD altered B. dorsalis phenotypes by significantly increasing stress (starvation and desiccation) resistance, decreasing reproduction, but did not extend lifespan compared to those that received a normal diet (ND) regime. In addition, administration of an SD resulted in a reduction in antioxidant enzyme activities and an increase in MDA concentrations, thereby suggesting that antioxidants cannot keep up with the increase in oxidative damage induced by SD regime.

CONCLUSIONS
The application of an SD diet induces changes in phenotypes, antioxidant responses, and gene expressions in B. dorsalis. Previous studies have associated extended lifespan with reduced fecundity. The current study did not observe a prolongation of lifespan in B. dorsalis, which instead incurred oxidative damage. The findings of the present study improve our understanding of the molecular, biochemical, and phenotypic response of B. dorsalis to an SD diet.