We studied the short- (12 hours) and long-term (144h) response of Daphnia pulex lipases to quality shifts in diets consisting of different mixtures of the green alga Scenedesmus with the cyanobacterium Synechococcus, two species with contrasting lipid compositions. The lipase/esterase activity in both the gut and the body tissues responded fast to the diet shift and increased with higher dietary contributions of Synechococcus. When screening the Daphnia genome for TAG lipases, we discovered a large gene-family expansion of these enzymes. We used a subset of eight genes for mRNA expression analyses and distinguished between influences of time and diet on the observed gene expression patterns. We identified five diet-responsive lipases of which three showed a sophisticated short- and long-term pattern of expression in response to small changes in food-quality. Furthermore, the gene expression of one of the lipases was strongly correlated to lipase/esterase activity in the gut suggesting its potentially major role in digestion. These findings demonstrate that the lipid-related enzymatic machinery of D. pulex is finely tuned to diet and might constitute an important mechanism of physiological adaptation in nutritionally complex environments.
- Received September 26, 2016.
- Accepted December 19, 2016.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd
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