Enzyme polymorphism, oxygen and injury: A lipidomic analysis of flight-induced oxidative damage in a succinate dehydrogenase d (Sdhd)-polymorphic insect

Julianne E. Pekny, Philip B. Smith, James H. Marden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


When active tissues receive insufficient oxygen to meet metabolic demand, succinate accumulates and has two fundamental effects: It causes ischemia-reperfusion injury while also activating the hypoxiainducible factor pathway (HIF). The Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) possesses a balanced polymorphism in Sdhd, shown previously to affect HIF pathway activation and tracheal morphology and used here to experimentally test the hypothesis that variation in succinate dehydrogenase affects oxidative injury. We stimulated butterflies to fly continuously in a respirometer (3 min duration), which typically caused episodes of exhaustion and recovery, suggesting a potential for cellular injury from hypoxia and reoxygenation in flight muscles. Indeed, flight muscle from butterflies flown on consecutive days had lipidome profiles similar to those of rested paraquat-injected butterflies, but distinct from those of rested untreated butterflies. Many butterflies showed a decline in flight metabolic rate (FMR) on day 2, and there was a strong inverse relationship between the ratio of day 2 to day 1 FMR and the abundance of sodiated adducts of phosphatidylcholines and coenzyme Q (CoQ). This result is consistent with elevation of sodiated lipids caused by disrupted intracellular ion homeostasis in mammalian tissues after hypoxia-reperfusion. Butterflies carrying the Sdhd M allele had a higher abundance of lipid markers of cellular damage, but the association was reversed in field-collected butterflies, where focal individuals typically flew for seconds at a time rather than continuously. These results indicate that Glanville fritillary flight muscles can be injured by episodes of high exertion, but injury severity appears to be determined by an interaction between SDH genotype and behavior (prolonged versus intermittent flight).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjeb.171009
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Enzyme polymorphism, oxygen and injury: A lipidomic analysis of flight-induced oxidative damage in a succinate dehydrogenase d (Sdhd)-polymorphic insect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this