Metabolomics of anoxia tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster: evidence against substrate limitation and for roles of protective metabolites and paralytic hypometabolism

Jacob B. Campbell, Simon Werkhoven, Jon F. Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Animals vary tremendously in their capacities to survive anoxia, and the mechanisms responsible are poorly understood. Adult Drosophila melanogaster are rapidly paralyzed and survive up to 12 h of anoxia, whereas larvae vigorously attempt escape but then die if anoxia exceeds 2 h. Here we use nuclear magnetic resonance methods to compare the metabolome of larvae and adult D. melanogaster under normoxic conditions and after various anoxic durations up to 1 h. Glucose increased during anoxia in both larvae and adults, so anoxic death by carbohydrate limitation is unlikely for either stage. Lactate and alanine were the primary anaerobic end products in both adults and larvae. During the first 30 min of anoxia, larvae accumulated anaerobic end products (predominately lactate) at a higher rate, suggesting that larvae may experience greater initial acid-base disruption during anoxic exposures. Adult Drosophila did not possess higher levels of putative protective metabolites; however, these increased during anoxia in adults and decreased in larvae. Metabolites that decreased during anoxia in larvae included mannitol, xylitol, glycerol, betaine, serine, and tyrosine, perhaps due to use as fuels, antioxidants, or binding to denatured proteins. Adults showed significant increases in glycine, taurine, and the polyols glycerol, mannitol, and xylitol, suggesting that adults upregulate protective metabolites to prevent damage. Our results suggest that lower initial metabolic demand due to paralytic hypometabolism and capacities to upregulate protective metabolites may assist the better anoxia tolerance of adult Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R442-R450
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology
Volume317
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • anaerobiosis
  • anoxia
  • metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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