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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2015

Authors: Chen, J; Nolte, V; Schlötterer, C

Title: Temperature-Related Reaction Norms of Gene Expression: Regulatory Architecture and Functional Implications.

Source: Mol Biol Evol. 2015; 32(9):2393-2402

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Nolte Viola
Schlötterer Christian

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Population Genetics

Project(s): Evolution of gene expression in Drosophila

The environment has profound effects on the expression of many traits and reaction norms describe the expression dynamics of a trait across a broad range of environmental conditions. Here, we analyze gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster across four different developmental temperatures (13-29 °C). Gene expression is highly plastic with 83.3% of the genes being differentially expressed. We distinguished three components of plasticity: 1) Dynamics of gene expression intensity (sum of change), 2) direction of change, and 3) curvature of the reaction norm (linear vs. quadratic). Studying their regulatory architecture we found that all three plasticity components were most strongly affected by the number of different transcription factors (TFs) binding to the target gene. More TFs were found in genes with less expression changes across temperatures. Although the effect of microRNAs was weaker, we consistently noted a trend in the opposite direction. The most plastic genes were regulated by fewer TFs and more microRNAs than less plastic genes. Different patterns of plasticity were also reflected by their functional characterization based on gene ontology. Our results suggest that reaction norms provide an important key to understand the functional requirements of natural populations exposed to variable environmental conditions.

Keywords Pubmed: Adaptation, Physiological
Body Temperature/physiology
Drosophila Proteins/genetics
Drosophila Proteins/metabolism
Drosophila melanogaster/genetics*
Drosophila melanogaster/growth & development
Drosophila melanogaster/metabolism
Gene Expression
Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
Gene Ontology
Heat-Shock Proteins/genetics
Heat-Shock Proteins/metabolism
Transcription Factors/genetics
Transcription Factors/metabolism

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