Plastic but repeatable

rapid adjustments of mitochondrial function and density during reproduction in a wild bird species

Antoine Stier*, Pierre Bize, Bin-Yan Hsu, Suvi Ruuskanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Most of the energy fluxes supporting animal performance flow through mitochondria. Hence, inter-individual differences in performance might be rooted in inter-individual variations in mitochondrial function and density. Furthermore, because the energy required by an individual often changes across life stages, mitochondrial function and density are also expected to show within-individual variation (i.e. plasticity). No study so far has repeatedly measured mitochondrial function and density in the same individuals to simultaneously test for within-individual repeatability and plasticity of mitochondrial traits. Here, we repeatedly measured mitochondrial DNA copy number (a proxy of density) and respiration rates from blood cells of female pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) at the incubation and chick rearing stages. Mitochondrial density and respiration rates were all repeatable (R=[0.45; 0.80]), indicating high within-individual consistency in mitochondrial traits across life-history stages. Mitochondrial traits were also plastic, showing a quick (i.e. 10 days) down-regulation from incubation to chick-rearing in mitochondrial density, respiratory activity, and cellular regulation by endogenous substrates and/or ATP demand. These downregulations were partially compensated by an increase in mitochondrial efficiency at the chick-rearing stage. Therefore, our study provides clear evidence for both short-term plasticity and high within individual consistency in mitochondrial function and density during reproduction in a wild bird species.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology Letters
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Oct 2019

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Social Adjustment
wild birds
Respiratory Rate
Plastics
Birds
Reproduction
Down-Regulation
plastics
Songbirds
Proxy
Life Cycle Stages
Mitochondrial DNA
Individuality
Blood Cells
Mitochondria
Adenosine Triphosphate
rearing
chicks
respiratory rate
energy

Keywords

  • mitochondria
  • cellular respiration
  • metabolism
  • repeatability
  • plasticity
  • physiology/life-history nexus

Cite this

Plastic but repeatable : rapid adjustments of mitochondrial function and density during reproduction in a wild bird species. / Stier, Antoine; Bize, Pierre; Hsu, Bin-Yan; Ruuskanen, Suvi.

In: Biology Letters, 22.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Most of the energy fluxes supporting animal performance flow through mitochondria. Hence, inter-individual differences in performance might be rooted in inter-individual variations in mitochondrial function and density. Furthermore, because the energy required by an individual often changes across life stages, mitochondrial function and density are also expected to show within-individual variation (i.e. plasticity). No study so far has repeatedly measured mitochondrial function and density in the same individuals to simultaneously test for within-individual repeatability and plasticity of mitochondrial traits. Here, we repeatedly measured mitochondrial DNA copy number (a proxy of density) and respiration rates from blood cells of female pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) at the incubation and chick rearing stages. Mitochondrial density and respiration rates were all repeatable (R=[0.45; 0.80]), indicating high within-individual consistency in mitochondrial traits across life-history stages. Mitochondrial traits were also plastic, showing a quick (i.e. 10 days) down-regulation from incubation to chick-rearing in mitochondrial density, respiratory activity, and cellular regulation by endogenous substrates and/or ATP demand. These downregulations were partially compensated by an increase in mitochondrial efficiency at the chick-rearing stage. Therefore, our study provides clear evidence for both short-term plasticity and high within individual consistency in mitochondrial function and density during reproduction in a wild bird species.",
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N1 - Funding The project was funded by a ‘Turku Collegium for Science and Medicine’ Fellowship to AS and an Academy of Finland grant (#286278) to SR. Acknowledgements We are grateful to Lucas Bousseau, Thomas Rossille and Päivi Kotitalo for their help in the field and to the crew of the Marion Dufresnes and the French Polar Institute (IPEV) for hosting AS from 56 to 21° South while writing the manuscript.

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N2 - Most of the energy fluxes supporting animal performance flow through mitochondria. Hence, inter-individual differences in performance might be rooted in inter-individual variations in mitochondrial function and density. Furthermore, because the energy required by an individual often changes across life stages, mitochondrial function and density are also expected to show within-individual variation (i.e. plasticity). No study so far has repeatedly measured mitochondrial function and density in the same individuals to simultaneously test for within-individual repeatability and plasticity of mitochondrial traits. Here, we repeatedly measured mitochondrial DNA copy number (a proxy of density) and respiration rates from blood cells of female pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca) at the incubation and chick rearing stages. Mitochondrial density and respiration rates were all repeatable (R=[0.45; 0.80]), indicating high within-individual consistency in mitochondrial traits across life-history stages. Mitochondrial traits were also plastic, showing a quick (i.e. 10 days) down-regulation from incubation to chick-rearing in mitochondrial density, respiratory activity, and cellular regulation by endogenous substrates and/or ATP demand. These downregulations were partially compensated by an increase in mitochondrial efficiency at the chick-rearing stage. Therefore, our study provides clear evidence for both short-term plasticity and high within individual consistency in mitochondrial function and density during reproduction in a wild bird species.

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