Impact of high predation risk on genome-wide hippocampal gene expression in snowshoe hares

Sophia Lavergne, Patrick McGowan, Charles Krebs, Rudy Boonstra

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    18 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The population dynamics of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) are fundamental to the ecosystem dynamics of Canada’s boreal forest. During the 8- to 11-year population cycle, hare densities can fluctuate up to 40-fold. Predators in this system (lynx, coyotes, greathorned owls) affect population numbers not only through direct mortality but also through sublethal effects. The chronic stress hypothesis posits that high predation risk during the decline severely stresses hares, leading to greater stress responses, heightened ability to mobilize cortisol and energy, and a poorer body condition. These effects may result in, or be mediated by, differential gene expression. We used an oligonucleotide microarray designed for a closely-related species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), to characterize differences in genome-wide hippocampal RNA transcript abundance in wild hares from the Yukon during peak and decline phases of a single cycle. A total of 106 genes were differentially regulated between phases. Array results were validated with quantitative realtime PCR, and mammalian protein sequence similarity was used to infer gene function. In comparison to hares from the peak, decline phase hares showed increased expression of genes involved in metabolic processes and hormone response, and decreased expression of immune response and blood cell formation genes. We found evidence for predation risk effects on the expression of genes whose putative functions correspond with physiological impacts known to be induced by predation risk in snowshoe hares. This study shows, for the first time, a link between changes in demography and alterations in neural RNA transcript abundance in a natural population.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)613-624
    Number of pages12
    JournalOecologia
    Volume176
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Fingerprint

    Lepus americanus
    hares
    predation risk
    gene expression
    genome
    predation
    gene
    messenger RNA
    RNA
    population cycle
    Lynx
    Yukon Territory
    Canis latrans
    genes
    Oryctolagus cuniculus
    sublethal effect
    ecosystem dynamics
    sublethal effects
    body condition
    Strigiformes

    Cite this

    Lavergne, Sophia ; McGowan, Patrick ; Krebs, Charles ; Boonstra, Rudy. / Impact of high predation risk on genome-wide hippocampal gene expression in snowshoe hares. In: Oecologia. 2014 ; Vol. 176, No. 3. pp. 613-624.
    @article{d6290da17e924f3194bd293b69f465e5,
    title = "Impact of high predation risk on genome-wide hippocampal gene expression in snowshoe hares",
    abstract = "The population dynamics of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) are fundamental to the ecosystem dynamics of Canada’s boreal forest. During the 8- to 11-year population cycle, hare densities can fluctuate up to 40-fold. Predators in this system (lynx, coyotes, greathorned owls) affect population numbers not only through direct mortality but also through sublethal effects. The chronic stress hypothesis posits that high predation risk during the decline severely stresses hares, leading to greater stress responses, heightened ability to mobilize cortisol and energy, and a poorer body condition. These effects may result in, or be mediated by, differential gene expression. We used an oligonucleotide microarray designed for a closely-related species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), to characterize differences in genome-wide hippocampal RNA transcript abundance in wild hares from the Yukon during peak and decline phases of a single cycle. A total of 106 genes were differentially regulated between phases. Array results were validated with quantitative realtime PCR, and mammalian protein sequence similarity was used to infer gene function. In comparison to hares from the peak, decline phase hares showed increased expression of genes involved in metabolic processes and hormone response, and decreased expression of immune response and blood cell formation genes. We found evidence for predation risk effects on the expression of genes whose putative functions correspond with physiological impacts known to be induced by predation risk in snowshoe hares. This study shows, for the first time, a link between changes in demography and alterations in neural RNA transcript abundance in a natural population.",
    keywords = "Heterologous microarray, Hippocampus, Sublethal effects, Chronic stress, 10-year population cycle",
    author = "Sophia Lavergne and Patrick McGowan and Charles Krebs and Rudy Boonstra",
    year = "2014",
    doi = "10.1007/s00442-014-3053-0",
    language = "English",
    volume = "176",
    pages = "613--624",
    journal = "Oecologia",
    issn = "0029-8549",
    publisher = "Springer Verlag",
    number = "3",

    }

    Impact of high predation risk on genome-wide hippocampal gene expression in snowshoe hares. / Lavergne, Sophia; McGowan, Patrick; Krebs, Charles; Boonstra, Rudy.

    In: Oecologia, Vol. 176, No. 3, 2014, p. 613-624.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Impact of high predation risk on genome-wide hippocampal gene expression in snowshoe hares

    AU - Lavergne, Sophia

    AU - McGowan, Patrick

    AU - Krebs, Charles

    AU - Boonstra, Rudy

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - The population dynamics of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) are fundamental to the ecosystem dynamics of Canada’s boreal forest. During the 8- to 11-year population cycle, hare densities can fluctuate up to 40-fold. Predators in this system (lynx, coyotes, greathorned owls) affect population numbers not only through direct mortality but also through sublethal effects. The chronic stress hypothesis posits that high predation risk during the decline severely stresses hares, leading to greater stress responses, heightened ability to mobilize cortisol and energy, and a poorer body condition. These effects may result in, or be mediated by, differential gene expression. We used an oligonucleotide microarray designed for a closely-related species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), to characterize differences in genome-wide hippocampal RNA transcript abundance in wild hares from the Yukon during peak and decline phases of a single cycle. A total of 106 genes were differentially regulated between phases. Array results were validated with quantitative realtime PCR, and mammalian protein sequence similarity was used to infer gene function. In comparison to hares from the peak, decline phase hares showed increased expression of genes involved in metabolic processes and hormone response, and decreased expression of immune response and blood cell formation genes. We found evidence for predation risk effects on the expression of genes whose putative functions correspond with physiological impacts known to be induced by predation risk in snowshoe hares. This study shows, for the first time, a link between changes in demography and alterations in neural RNA transcript abundance in a natural population.

    AB - The population dynamics of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) are fundamental to the ecosystem dynamics of Canada’s boreal forest. During the 8- to 11-year population cycle, hare densities can fluctuate up to 40-fold. Predators in this system (lynx, coyotes, greathorned owls) affect population numbers not only through direct mortality but also through sublethal effects. The chronic stress hypothesis posits that high predation risk during the decline severely stresses hares, leading to greater stress responses, heightened ability to mobilize cortisol and energy, and a poorer body condition. These effects may result in, or be mediated by, differential gene expression. We used an oligonucleotide microarray designed for a closely-related species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), to characterize differences in genome-wide hippocampal RNA transcript abundance in wild hares from the Yukon during peak and decline phases of a single cycle. A total of 106 genes were differentially regulated between phases. Array results were validated with quantitative realtime PCR, and mammalian protein sequence similarity was used to infer gene function. In comparison to hares from the peak, decline phase hares showed increased expression of genes involved in metabolic processes and hormone response, and decreased expression of immune response and blood cell formation genes. We found evidence for predation risk effects on the expression of genes whose putative functions correspond with physiological impacts known to be induced by predation risk in snowshoe hares. This study shows, for the first time, a link between changes in demography and alterations in neural RNA transcript abundance in a natural population.

    KW - Heterologous microarray

    KW - Hippocampus

    KW - Sublethal effects

    KW - Chronic stress

    KW - 10-year population cycle

    U2 - 10.1007/s00442-014-3053-0

    DO - 10.1007/s00442-014-3053-0

    M3 - Article

    VL - 176

    SP - 613

    EP - 624

    JO - Oecologia

    JF - Oecologia

    SN - 0029-8549

    IS - 3

    ER -