Goenaga J, Yamane T, Rönn J, Arnqvist G
BMC Evol. Biol. 15 (-) 266 [2015-12-02; online 2015-12-02]
Male seminal fluid proteins (SFPs), transferred to females during mating, are important reproductive proteins that have multifarious effects on female reproductive physiology and that often show remarkably rapid and divergent evolution. Inferences regarding natural selection on SFPs are based primarily on interspecific comparative studies, and our understanding of natural within-species variation in SFPs and whether this relates to reproductive phenotypes is very limited. Here, we introduce an empirical strategy to study intraspecific variation in and selection upon the seminal fluid proteome. We then apply this in a study of 15 distinct populations of the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. Phenotypic assays of these populations showed significant differences in reproductive phenotypes (male success in sperm competition and male ability to stimulate female fecundity). A quantitative proteomic study of replicated samples of male accessory glands revealed a large number of potential SFPs, of which ≥127 were found to be transferred to females at mating. Moreover, population divergence in relative SFP abundance across populations was large and remarkably multidimensional. Most importantly, variation in male SFP abundance across populations was associated with male sperm competition success and male ability to stimulate female egg production. Our study provides the first direct evidence for postmating sexual selection on standing intraspecific variation in SFP abundance and the pattern of divergence across populations in the seminal fluid proteome match the pattern predicted by the postmating sexual selection paradigm for SFP evolution. Our findings provide novel support for the hypothesis that sexual selection on SFPs is an important engine of incipient speciation.