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Paparazzo, Francesco; Tellier, Aurelien; Stephan, Wolfgang and Hutter, Stephan (2015): Survival Rate and Transcriptional Response upon Infection with the Generalist Parasite Beauveria bassiana in a World-Wide Sample of Drosophila melanogaster.
In: PLOS ONE 10(7), e0132129 [PDF, 606kB]


The ability to cope with infection by a parasite is one of the major challenges for any host species and is a major driver of evolution. Parasite pressure differs between habitats. It is thought to be higher in tropical regions compared to temporal ones. We infected Drosophila melanogaster from two tropical (Malaysia and Zimbabwe) and two temperate populations (the Netherlands and North Carolina) with the generalist entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana to examine if adaptation to local parasite pressures led to differences in resistance. Contrary to previous findings we observed increased survival in temperate populations. This, however, is not due to increased resistance to infection per se, but rather the consequence of a higher general vigor of the temperate populations. We also assessed transcriptional response to infection within these flies eight and 24 hours after infection. Only few genes were induced at the earlier time point, most of which are involved in detoxification. In contrast, we identified more than 4, 000 genes that changed their expression state after 24 hours. This response was generally conserved over all populations with only few genes being uniquely regulated in the temperate populations. We furthermore found that the American population was transcriptionally highly diverged from all other populations concerning basal levels of gene expression. This was particularly true for stress and immune response genes, which might be the genetic basis for their elevated vigor.

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