Supplementary material from "Prenatal acoustic programming of mitochondrial function for high temperatures in an arid-adapted bird"


Sound is an essential source of information in many taxa and can notably be used by embryos to programme their phenotypes for postnatal environments. While underlying mechanisms are mostly unknown, there is growing evidence for the involvement of mitochondria—main source of cellular energy (i.e. ATP)—in developmental programming processes. Here, we tested whether prenatal sound programmes mitochondrial metabolism. In the arid-adapted zebra finch, prenatal exposure to ‘heat-calls’—produced by parents incubating at high temperatures—adaptively alters nestling growth in the heat. We measured red blood cell mitochondrial function, in nestlings exposed prenatally to heat- or control-calls, and reared in contrasting thermal environments. Exposure to high temperatures always reduced mitochondrial ATP production efficiency. However, as expected to reduce heat production, prenatal exposure to heat-calls improved mitochondrial efficiency under mild heat conditions. In addition, when exposed to an acute heat-challenge, LEAK respiration was higher in heat-call nestlings, and mitochondrial efficiency low across temperatures. Consistent with its role in reducing oxidative damage, LEAK under extreme heat was also higher in fast growing nestlings. Our study, therefore, provides the first demonstration of mitochondrial acoustic sensitivity, and brings us closer to understanding the underpinning of acoustic developmental programming and avian strategies for heat adaptation.

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