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  1. Abstract

    Migration is one of the most energy-demanding behaviors observed in birds. Mitochondria are the primary source of energy used to support these long-distance movements, yet how mitochondria meet the energetic demands of migration is scarcely studied. We quantified changes in mitochondrial respiratory performance in the White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), which has a migratory and non-migratory subspecies. We hypothesized that the long-distance migratory Gambel’s subspecies (Z. l. gambelii) would show higher mitochondrial respiratory performance compared to the non-migratory Nuttall’s subspecies (Z. l. nuttalli). We sampled Gambel’s individuals during spring pre-migration, active fall migration, and a period with no migration or breeding (winter). We sampled Nuttall’s individuals during periods coinciding with fall migration and the winter period of Gambel’s annual cycle. Overall, Gambel’s individuals had higher citrate synthase, a proxy for mitochondrial volume, than Nuttall’s individuals. This was most pronounced prior to and during migration. We found that both OXPHOS capacity (state 3) and basal respiration (state 4) of mitochondria exhibit high seasonal flexibility within Gambel’s individuals, with values highest during active migration. These values in Nuttall’s individuals were most similar to Gambel’s individuals in winter. Our observations indicate that seasonal changes in mitochondrial respiration play a vital role in migration energetics.

     
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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  3. The insulin and insulin-like signalling (IIS) network plays an important role in mediating several life-history traits, including growth, reproduction and senescence. Although insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) 1 and 2 are both key hormones in the vertebrate IIS network, research on IGF2 in juveniles and adults has been largely neglected because early biomedical research on rodents found negligible IGF2 postnatal expression. Here, we challenge this assumption and ask to what degree IGF2 is expressed during postnatal life across amniotes by quantifying the relative gene expression of IGF1 and IGF2 using publicly available RNAseq data for 82 amniote species and quantitative polymerase chain reaction on liver cDNA at embryonic, juvenile and adult stages for two lizard, bird and mouse species. We found that (i) IGF2 is expressed postnatally across amniote species and life stages—often at a higher relative expression than IGF1 , contradicting rodent models; (ii) the lack of rodent postnatal IGF2 expression is due to phylogenetic placement, not inbreeding or artificial selection; and (iii) adult IGF2 expression is sex-biased in some species. Our results demonstrate that IGF2 expression is typical for amniotes throughout life, suggesting that a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms mediating variation in life-history traits will require studies that measure both IGFs. 
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    Synopsis One of the key foci of ecoimmunology is understanding the physiological interactions between reproduction and immune defense. To assess an immune challenge, investigators typically measure an immune response at a predetermined time point that was selected to represent a peak response. These time points often are based on the immunological responses of nonreproductive males. Problematically, these peaks have been applied to studies quantifying immune responses of females during reproduction, despite the fact that nonreproductive males and reproductive females display fundamentally different patterns of energy expenditure. Previous work within pharmacological research has reported that the response to the commonly-used antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) varies among individuals and between females and males. In this heuristic analysis, we characterize antibody responses to KLH in females with varying reproductive demands (nonreproductive, lactating, concurrently lactating, and pregnant). Serum was taken from one animal per day per group and assessed for general and specific Immunoglobulins (Igs) G and M. We then used regression analysis to characterize the antibody response curves across groups. Our results demonstrate that the antibody response curve is asynchronous among females with varying maternal demands and temporally differs from the anticipated peak responses reflected in standardized protocols. These findings highlight the importance of multiple sampling points across treatment groups for a more integrative assessment of how reproductive demand alters antibody responses in females beyond a single measurement. 
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