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Data from: Larval UV exposure impairs adult immune function through a trade-off with larval investment in cuticular melanin

Citation

Debecker, Sara; Sommaruga, Ruben; Maes, Tim; Stoks, Robby (2016), Data from: Larval UV exposure impairs adult immune function through a trade-off with larval investment in cuticular melanin, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.48077

Abstract

Despite the strong impact of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on invertebrates, it is unknown whether it affects immune function across metamorphosis. More generally, the mechanisms on how larval stressors bridge metamorphosis and shape adult fitness in animals with a complex life cycle remain poorly understood. We studied whether cuticular melanin content is upregulated under UV exposure in the larval stage of the damselfly Coenagrion puella and whether this is traded off across metamorphosis against a key component of the invertebrate immune response, the melanotic encapsulation response, in the adult stage. Larvae exposed to UV increased the melanin content in their exoskeleton and metamorphosed later and at a smaller mass than animals reared without UV. Across metamorphosis, this was associated with a reduced melanotic encapsulation response, thereby constituting the first proof for a UV driven impaired immune response in an invertebrate. The demonstrated costs of UV exposure in terms of age and mass at metamorphosis and reduced adult immune response likely translate into reduced adult fitness. Path analysis indicated that the immunosuppressive property of larval UV exposure was not mediated by age and mass at metamorphosis, but instead that the adult immune response was traded off against larval cuticular melanin investment. Melanin-based trade-off across metamorphosis provide a new pathway by which effects of larval stressors are carried over to the adult stage and thereby advances our understanding of the still largely enigmatic mechanisms of carryover effects of larval stressors across metamorphosis. Given the mechanistic base, this carryover effect of larval UV exposure on adult immune function is expected to be general and may constitute a widespread and important cost of UV exposure in invertebrates.

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