Vitellogenin-RNAi and ovariectomy each increase lifespan, increase protein storage, and decrease feeding, but are not additive in grasshoppers
Reduced reproduction has been shown to increase lifespan in many animals, yet the mechanisms behind this trade-off are unclear. We addressed this question by combining two distinct, direct means of life-extension via reduced reproduction, to test whether they were additive. In the lubber grasshopper, Romalea microptera, ovariectomized (OVX) individuals had a ~20 % increase in lifespan and a doubling of storage relative to controls (Sham operated). Similarly, young female grasshoppers treated with RNAi against vitellogenin (the precursor to egg yolk protein) had increased fat body mass and halted ovarian growth. In this study, we compared VgRNAi to two control groups that do not reduce reproduction, namely buffer injection (Buffer) and injection with RNAi against a hexameric storage protein (Hex90RNAi). Each injection treatment was tested with and without ovariectomy. Hence, we tested feeding, storage, and lifespans in six groups: OVX and Buffer, OVX and Hex90RNAi, OVX and VgRNAi, Sham and Buffer, Sham and Hex90RNAi, and Sham and VgRNAi. Ovariectomized grasshoppers and VgRNAi grasshoppers each had similar reductions in feeding (~40 %), increases in protein storage in the hemolymph (150–300 %), and extensions in lifespan (13–21 %). Ovariectomized grasshoppers had higher vitellogenin protein levels than did VgRNAi grasshoppers. Last but not least, when ovariectomy and VgRNAi were applied together, there was no greater effect on feeding, protein storage, or longevity. Hence, feeding regulation, and protein storage in insects, may be conserved components of life-extension via reduced reproduction.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Tetlak, Burnett, J. B., Hahn, D. A., & Hatle, J. D. (2015). Vitellogenin-RNAi and ovariectomy each increase lifespan, increase protein storage, and decrease feeding, but are not additive in grasshoppers. Biogerontology (Dordrecht), 16(6), 761–774. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10522-015-9599-3