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Impact of photoperiod and functional clock on male diapause in cryptochrome and pdf mutants in the linden bug Pyrrhocoris apterus


Numerous insect species living in temperate regions survive adverse conditions, such as winter, in a state of developmental arrest. The most reliable cue for anticipating seasonal changes is the day-to-night ratio, the photoperiod. The molecular mechanism of the photoperiodic timer in insects is mostly unclear. Multiple pieces of evidence suggest the involvement of circadian clock genes, however, their role might be independent of their well-established role in the daily oscillation of the circadian clock. Furthermore, reproductive diapause is preferentially studied in females, whereas males are usually used for circadian clock research. Given the idiosyncrasies of male and female physiology, we decided to test male reproductive diapause in a strongly photoperiodic species, the linden bug Pyrrhocoris apterus. The data indicate that reproduction is not under circadian control, whereas the photoperiod strongly determines males’ mating capacity. Clock mutants in pigment dispersing factor and cryptochrome-m genes are reproductive even in short photoperiod. Thus, we provide additional evidence of the participation of circadian clock genes in the photoperiodic time measurement in insects.

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We thank Hana Vaněčková for technical support, and all current laboratory members for the excellent working atmosphere.


This work was supported by European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Program Grant Agreement 726049 to DD. MMK has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 765937 (CINCHRON).

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MMK and DD designed the experiments. MMK performed the experiments, analyzed data, and drew the figures with input from DD. MMK and DD interpreted the data and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to David Dolezel.

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Kaniewska, M.M., Chvalová, D. & Dolezel, D. Impact of photoperiod and functional clock on male diapause in cryptochrome and pdf mutants in the linden bug Pyrrhocoris apterus. J Comp Physiol A (2023).

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