Under favorable conditions, the micro-crustacean Daphnia pulexproduces female offspring by parthenogenesis, whereas under unfavorable conditions, they produce male offspring to induce sexual reproduction (environmental sex determination: ESD). We recently established a suitable system for ESD studies using D. pulex WTN6 strain, in which the sex of the offspring can be regulated by alterations in day-length; long-day and short-day conditions can induce female and male offspring, respectively. Taking advantage of this system, we have already demonstrated that methyl farnesoate (MF) synthesis is necessary for male offspring production, and identified ionotropic glutamate receptors as an upstream regulator of MF signaling. Despite these findings, the molecular mechanisms associated with MF signaling have not yet been well elucidated. In this study, we analyzed the whole metabolic profiles of mother daphnids reared under long-day (female-producing) and short-day (male-producing) conditions, and discovered that pantothenate (vitamin B5), a known precursor to coenzyme A, was significantly accumulated in response to the short-day condition. To confirm the innate role of pantothenate in D. pulex, this metabolite was administered to mother daphnids resulting in a significantly increased proportion of male offspring producing mothers. This study provides novel insights of the metabolic mechanisms of the ESD system in D. pulex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas