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posted on 04.06.2018, 12:27 by Sebastian Boltana, Andrea Aguilar, Nataly Sanhueza, Andrea Donoso, Luis Mercado, Monica Imarai, Simon Mackenzie

Ectotherms choose the best thermal conditions to mount a successful immune response, a phenomenon known as behavioral fever. The cumulative evidence suggests that behavioral fever impacts positively upon lymphocyte proliferation, inflammatory cytokine expression, and other immune functions. In this study, we have explored how thermal choice during infection impacts upon underpinning molecular processes and how temperature increase is coupled to the immune response. Our results show that behavioral fever results in a widespread, plastic imprint on gene regulation, and lymphocyte proliferation. We further explored the possible contribution of histone modification and identified global associations between temperature and histone changes that suggest epigenetic remodeling as a result of behavioral fever. Together, these results highlight the critical importance of thermal choice in mobile ectotherms, particularly in response to an infection, and demonstrate the key role of epigenetic modification to orchestrate the thermocoupling of the immune response during behavioral fever.

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