Data from: Overexpression of an antioxidant enzyme improves male mating performance after stress in a lek-mating fruit fly
Teets, Nicholas M. et al. (2019), Data from: Overexpression of an antioxidant enzyme improves male mating performance after stress in a lek-mating fruit fly, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.nk58h0m
In many species, courtship displays are reliable signals of male quality, and current hypotheses suggest that mitochondrial function is a key mechanism underlying these condition-dependent traits. Environmental stressors generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) that impair mitochondrial function, and thus antioxidant pathways that remove ROS are likely critical for preserving complex sexual behaviors. Here, we test the hypothesis that enhanced antioxidant activity in mitochondria preserves mating performance following oxidative stress. Using a transgenic approach, we directly manipulated mitochondrial antioxidant activity in the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa, a lek-mating species with elaborate sexual displays and intense sexual selection that is also a model for Sterile Insect Technique programs. We generated seven transgenic lines that overexpress mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). Radiation is a severe oxidative stressor used commonly to induce sterility for sterile insect programs. After radiation treatment, two lines with intermediate MnSOD overexpression showed enhanced mating performance relative to wild-type males. These improvements in mating corresponded with reduced oxidative damage to lipids, demonstrating that MnSOD overexpression protects flies from oxidative stress at the cellular level. For lines with improved mating performance, overexpression also preserved locomotor activity, as indicated by a laboratory climbing assay. Our results show a clear link between oxidative stress, antioxidant capacity, and male performance. Our work has implications both for fundamentally understanding the role of mitochondrial antioxidants in sexual selection and shows promise for using transgenic approaches to enhance the field performance of insects released for area-wide pest management strategies and improving performance of biological control agents in general.
National Science Foundation, Award: 1639005, 1257298