Aging is accompanied by increased susceptibility to infections including with viral pathogens resulting in higher morbidity and mortality among the elderly. Significant changes in host metabolism can take place following virus infection. Efficient immune responses are energetically costly, and viruses divert host molecular resources to promote their own replication. Virus-induced metabolic reprogramming could impact infection outcomes, however, how this is affected by aging and impacts organismal survival remains poorly understood. RNA virus infection of Drosophila melanogaster with Flock House virus (FHV) is an effective model to study antiviral responses with age, where older flies die faster than younger flies due to impaired disease tolerance. Using this aged host-virus model, we conducted longitudinal, single-fly respirometry studies to determine if metabolism impacts infection outcomes. Analysis using linear mixed models on Oxygen Consumption Rate (OCR) following the first 72-hours post-infection showed that FHV modulates respiration, but age has no significant effect on OCR. However, the longitudinal assessment revealed that OCR in young flies progressively and significantly decreases, while OCR in aged flies remains constant throughout the three days of the experiment. Furthermore, we found that the OCR signature at 24-hours varied in response to both experimental treatment and survival status. FHV-injected flies that died prior to 48- or 72-hours measurements had a lower OCR compared to survivors at 48-hours. Our findings suggest the host’s metabolic profile could influence the outcome of viral infections.
Hagedorn, Eli; Bunnell, Dean; Henschel, Beate; Smith, Daniel Jr; Dickinson, Stephanie; Brown, Andrew; De Luca, Maria; Turner, Ashley; and Chtarbanova, Stanislava, "RNA virus-mediated changes in organismal oxygen consumption rate in young and old Drosophila melanogaster males" (2023). Research, Publications & Creative Work. 176.