Oxidative stress alters the flight muscle lipidome of a lowland butterfly

Open Access
Pekny, Julianne Elisabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • James Harold Marden, Thesis Supervisor
  • Katriona Shea, Honors Advisor
  • oxidative stress
  • lipidomics
  • aging
  • succinate dehydrogenase d
Among conflicting theories of aging, both the oxidative stress hypothesis and rate of living theory have been strongly supported for decades. Here, we seek to illustrate that these two schools of thought may work in conjunction, with the oxidative stress hypothesis providing the biochemical basis for the rate of living theory. Within a lowland butterfly metapopulation, we observed the differences in the global lipid composition (lipidome) between individuals that were rested, subjected to prolonged flight, and injected with an oxidative stress-causing agent. Between these treatments we found nonrandom discrepancies in the abundance of various specific lipids that serve as biomarkers for oxidative damage. The flight performance of individuals with specific Sdhd alleles, a polymorphism previously documented as having an association with tracheal development, oxygen conductance, and colonization success, was observed, with those containing the M allele boasting the highest flight metabolic rates, as well as the most elevated abundances in those lipids associated with oxidative damage. These findings suggest that the observed decline in flight performance (i.e. aging) is highly correlated with those lipids related to oxidative damage, illustrating how the two main theories of aging may work in conjunction. Further, our results prompt future research into how the Sdhd polymorphism influences the flight strategy of Glanville fritillaries (Melitaea cinxia) in relation to acute and chronic oxidative stress, shaping individual behavior and metapopulation dynamics.