Pleiotropic effects of juvenile hormone in ant queens and the escape from the reproduction–immunocompetence trade-off

Pamminger, Tobias, Treanor, David and Hughes, William O H (2016) Pleiotropic effects of juvenile hormone in ant queens and the escape from the reproduction–immunocompetence trade-off. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283. p. 20152409. ISSN 0962-8452

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Abstract

The ubiquitous trade-off between survival and costly reproduction is one of the most fundamental constraints governing life-history evolution. In numerous animals, gonadotropic hormones antagonistically suppressing immunocompetence cause this trade-off. The queens of many social insects defy the reproduction–survival trade-off, achieving both an extraordinarily long life and high reproductive output, but how they achieve this is unknown. Here we show experimentally, by integrating quantification of gene expression, physiology and behaviour, that the long-lived queens of the ant Lasius niger have escaped the reproduction–immunocompetence trade-off by decoupling the effects of a key endocrine regulator of fertility and immunocompetence in solitary insects, juvenile hormone (JH). This modification of the regulatory architecture enables queens to sustain a high reproductive output without elevated JH titres and suppressed immunocompetence, providing an escape from the reproduction–immunocompetence trade-off that may contribute to the extraordinary lifespan of many social insect queens.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: William Hughes
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2016 07:12
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 07:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/60006

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