Gene expression remodelling and immune response during adaptive divergence in an African cichlid fish

Rajkov, Jelena and El Taher, Athimed and Böhne, Astrid and Salzburger, Walter and Egger, Bernd. (2021) Gene expression remodelling and immune response during adaptive divergence in an African cichlid fish. Molecular Ecology, 30. pp. 274-296.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/80279/

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Variation in gene expression contributes to ecological speciation by facilitating population persistence in novel environments. Likewise, immune responses can be of relevance in speciation driven by adaptation to different environments. Previous studies examining gene expression differences between recently diverged ecotypes have often relied on only one pair of populations, targeted the expression of only a subset of genes or used wild-caught individuals. Here, we investigated the contribution of habitat-specific parasites and symbionts and the underlying immunological abilities of ecotype hosts to adaptive divergence in lake-river population pairs of the cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni. To shed light on the role of phenotypic plasticity in adaptive divergence, we compared parasite and microbiota communities, immune response, and gene expression patterns of fish from natural habitats and a lake-like pond set-up. In all investigated population pairs, lake fish were more heavily parasitized than river fish, in terms of both parasite taxon composition and infection abundance. The innate immune response in the wild was higher in lake than in river populations and was elevated in a river population exposed to lake parasites in the pond set-up. Environmental differences between lake and river habitat and their distinct parasite communities have shaped differential gene expression, involving genes functioning in osmoregulation and immune response. Most changes in gene expression between lake and river samples in the wild and in the pond set-up were based on a plastic response. Finally, gene expression and bacterial communities of wild-caught individuals and individuals acclimatized to lake-like pond conditions showed shifts underlying adaptive phenotypic plasticity.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Salzburger)
UniBasel Contributors:Salzburger, Walter
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:29 Apr 2022 12:01
Deposited On:05 Feb 2021 14:27

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