Transcriptomic signals of cellular stress in fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda; Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) brain tissue after prolonged auditory exposure to bat calls

S. D. Cinel, A. Y. Kawahara, S. J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Predation risk induces behavioral and physiological responses that have traditionally been considered acute and transitory. However, prolonged or frequent exposure to predators and their cues can
impact long-term prey physiology and demographics. For instance, some moths are equipped with tympana that allow the perception of ultrasonic bat calls. Past research indicates some moths experience
altered fitness and physiology after exposure to synthetic ultrasound, but the ecological relevance of these findings is not yet understood. Here, we exposed 4 adult male fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda; Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) moths to either silence or sporadic recorded ultrasonic bat calls for 8 hrs and then constructed a
combined de novo transcriptome based on dissected brain tissue. Using differential expression (DE) and Gene Ontology (GO)
enrichment analyses, we identified 305 DE transcripts and 15 overrepresented GO terms in cue-exposed individuals. The annotated
DE transcripts represented broad functional protein-coding mRNAs in the brain, including those related to neurotransmitter metabolism, ionotropic receptor expression, mitochondrial metabolism, protein
chaperone activity, antioxidant activity, actin cytoskeleton dynamics, chromatin binding, epigenetic methylation, axon guidance, and
neural development. The five most overrepresented GO terms included chromatin binding, macromolecular complex binding, glutamate (Glu) synthase activity, Glu metabolic process, and Glu
biosynthetic process. As a first assessment of auditory predator cues on transcriptional responses in the brains of moth prey, these results suggest exposure to cues of bat presence alone can influence long-term stress physiology of ‘eared' moth prey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E38-E38
JournalIntegrative and comparative biology
StatePublished - Mar 2019

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