Mechanistic basis of adaptive maternal effects: egg jelly water balance mediates embryonic adaptation to acidity in Rana arvalis
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseIn Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Environmental stress, such as acidification, can challenge persistence of natural populations and act as a powerful evolutionary force at ecological time scales. The ecological and evolutionary responses of natural populations to environmental stress at early life-stages are often mediated via maternal effects. During early life-stages, maternal effects commonly arise from egg coats (the extracellular structures surrounding the embryo), but the role of egg coats has rarely been studied in the context of adaptation to environmental stress. Previous studies on the moor frog Rana arvalis found that the egg coat mediated adaptive divergence along an acidification gradient in embryonic acid stress tolerance. However, the exact mechanisms underlying these adaptive maternal effects remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of water balance and charge state (zeta potential) of egg jelly coats in embryonic adaptation to acid stress in three populations of R. arvalis. We found that acidic pH causes severe water loss in the egg jelly coat, but that jelly coats from an acid-adapted population retained more water than jelly coats from populations not adapted to acidity. Moreover, embryonic acid tolerance (survival at pH 4.0) correlated with both water loss and charge state of the jelly, indicating that negatively charged glycans influence jelly water balance and contribute to embryonic adaptation to acidity. These results indicate that egg coats can harbor extensive intra-specific variation, probably facilitated in part via strong selection on water balance and glycosylation status of egg jelly coats. These findings shed light on the molecular mechanisms of environmental stress tolerance and adaptive maternal effects. Show more
Journal / seriesOecologia
Pages / Article No.
SubjectAdaptive divergence; Amphibians; Environmental stress; Jelly glycan; Water balance; Zeta potential; Egg coat
Organisational unit03705 - Jokela, Jukka / Jokela, Jukka
NotesIt was possible to publish this article open access thanks to a Swiss National Licence with the publisher.
MoreShow all metadata