Despite their medical and economic relevance, it remains largely unknown how suboptimal temperatures affect adult insect reproduction. Here, we report an in-depth analysis of how chronic adult exposure to suboptimal temperatures affects oogenesis using the model insect Drosophila melanogaster. In adult females maintained at 18°C (cold) or 29°C (warm), relative to females at the 25°C control temperature, egg production was reduced through distinct cellular mechanisms. Chronic 18°C exposure improved germline stem cell maintenance, survival of early germline cysts and oocyte quality, but reduced follicle growth with no obvious effect on vitellogenesis. By contrast, in females at 29°C, germline stem cell numbers and follicle growth were similar to those at 25°C, while early germline cyst death and degeneration of vitellogenic follicles were markedly increased and oocyte quality plummeted over time. Finally, we also show that these effects are largely independent of diet, male factors or canonical temperature sensors. These findings are relevant not only to cold-blooded organisms, which have limited thermoregulation, but also potentially to warm-blooded organisms, which are susceptible to hypothermia, heatstroke and fever.

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