The circadian clock controls daily activities at the cellular and organismic level, allowing an organism to anticipate incoming stresses and to use resources accordingly. The circadian clock has therefore been considered a fitness trait in multiple organisms. However, the mechanism of how circadian clock variation influences organismal reproductive fitness is still not well understood. Here we describe habitat-specific clock variation (HSCV) of asexual reproduction in Neurospora discreta, a species that is adapted to 2 different habitats, under or above tree bark. African (AF) N. discreta strains, whose habitat is above the tree bark in light-dark (LD) conditions, display a higher rhythmicity index compared with North American (NA) strains, whose habitat is under the tree bark in constant dark (DD). Although AF-type strains demonstrated an overall fitness advantage under LD and DD conditions, NA-type strains exhibit a habitat-specific fitness advantage in DD over the LD condition. In addition, we show that allelic variation of the clock-controlled gene, Ubiquinol cytochrome c oxidoreductase (NEUDI_158280), plays a role in HSCV by modulating cellular reactive oxygen species levels. Our results demonstrate a mechanism by which local adaptation involving circadian clock regulation influences reproductive fitness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)
- circadian clock
- natural variation