• Open Access

Mating increases starvation resistance and decreases oxidative stress resistance in Drosophila melanogaster females


Jadwiga M. Giebultowicz, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, 3029 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. Tel.: 541 737 5530; fax: 541 737 0501; e-mail: giebultj@science.oregonstate.edu


Mating stimulates complex physiological changes in females of Drosophila melanogaster. Long-term effects of mating are manifested in increased fecundity and shortened lifespan. It is not clear how mating affects stress resistance in fly females. We addressed this question here and found that mated and highly fecund wild-type D. melanogaster females have significantly higher resistance to starvation throughout their lifetime than age-matched virgin females. Mean survival time under starvation was age dependent with maximum survival time observed in 15-day-old mated females. Mating-induced increase in starvation resistance was associated with significantly higher fat reserves stored as triacylglycerols. While mated females had higher resistance to starvation, their resistance to oxidative stress was significantly lower than in age-matched virgins. Our study revealed that mating leads to an opposing relationship between resistance to starvation and resistance to oxidative stress in Drosophila females. Thus, shortened lifespan of mated females is associated with their high-fat content and greater susceptibility to oxidative stress.