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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Weed and Insect Biology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397034

Research Project: Enhancing Pollinator Health and Availability Through Conservation of Genetic Diversity and Development of Novel Management Tools and Strategies

Location: Weed and Insect Biology Research

Title: Telomere length increases following quiescence in two solitary bee species

Author
item Grula, Courtney
item RINEHART, JOSHUA - North Dakota State University
item ANACLETO, ANGELO - North Dakota State University
item KITTISON, JEFFREY - North Dakota State University
item HEIDINGER, BRITT - North Dakota State University
item GREENLEE, KENDRA - North Dakota State University
item Rinehart, Joseph - Joe
item BOWSHER, JULIA - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/7/2024
Publication Date: 5/16/2024
Citation: Grula, C.C., Rinehart, J.D., Anacleto, A., Kittison, J.D., Heidinger, B.J., Greenlee, K.J., Rinehart, J.P., Bowsher, J.H. 2024. Telomere length increases following quiescence in two solitary bee species. Scientific Reports. 14. Article 11208. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-61613-2.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-61613-2

Interpretive Summary: As organisms get older, they experience signs of aging. There are many external, physical signs of aging but, aging can also occur at the molecular level. The cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to aging are poorly understood. Measuring telomere length is one way to detect organismal aging. Telomeres are repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA located at the end of chromosomes, which protect coding DNA during replication. As the organism ages, telomere length decreases. This pattern occurs in many vertebrates, but there is little known about telomere dynamics in insects. This study aimed to determine how telomere dynamics change throughout the lifespan and in response to stress in two agriculturally important solitary bee species; Osmia lignaria and Megachile rotundata. Our results show a contrasting pattern to vertebrates and other insects. Telomere length in solitary bees increases in later life stages after emergence from a dormant state. Results from this study show aging dynamics in diapausing, solitary bees differ from other animals and insects.

Technical Abstract: The mechanisms that underlie age-associated declines in performance in insects are not well understood. Telomeres, highly conserved, repetitive sequences of non-coding DNA that form caps at chromosome ends that protect coding DNA during replication, may be important in this context. In many vertebrates, telomeres shorten during cell division and in response to stress and are often shorter in older than younger individuals. However, little is known about how telomeres change across the lifespan in invertebrates. We measured telomere length across several life-stages (larvae, prepupae, pupae, and in adulthood) in two species of solitary bee, Osmia lignaria and Megachile rotundata. Interestingly, in both O. lignaria and M. rotundata telomere length increased after emergence from overwintering. In both species, telomere length did not change during eight months of diapause and there was no effect of experimental stress exposure, sex, or mass on telomeres. Taken together, these results suggest that telomere dynamics in solitary bees differ from what is commonly reported in vertebrates and suggest that insect diapause may influence aging dynamics.