Specific phytochemicals in floral nectar up-regulate genes involved in longevity regulation and xenobiotic metabolism, extending mosquito life span

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Abstract

During nectar feeding, mosquitoes ingest a plethora of phytochemicals present in nectar. The ecological and physiological impacts of these ingested phytochemicals on the disease vectors are poorly understood. In this study, we evaluated the effects of three nectar phytochemicals-- caffeine, p-coumaric acid, and quercetin--on longevity, fecundity, and sugar-feeding behavior of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Adult females of Ae. albopictus were provided continuous access to 10% sucrose supplemented with one of the three phytochemicals and their fecundity, longevity, and the amount of sucrose consumed determined. Transcriptome response of Ae. albopictus females to p-coumaric acid and quercetin was also evaluated. Dietary quercetin and p-coumaric acid enhanced the longevity of female Ae. albopictus, while caffeine resulted in reduced sugar consumption and enhanced fecundity of gravid females. RNA-seq analyses identified 237 genes that were differentially expressed (DE) in mosquitoes consuming p-coumaric acid or quercetin relative to mosquitoes consuming an unamended sucrose solution diet. Among the DE genes, several encoding antioxidant enzymes, cytochrome P450s, and heat shock proteins were upregulated, whereas histones were downregulated. Overall, our findings show that consuming certain nectar phytochemicals can enhance adult longevity of female Asian tiger mosquitoes, apparently by differentially regulating the expression level of genes involved in longevity and xenobiotic metabolism; this has potential impacts not only on life span but also on vectorial capacity and insecticide resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8363-8380
Number of pages18
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • gene expression
  • longevity
  • mosquito
  • nectar phytochemicals
  • sugar-feeding behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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