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RNA-sequencing analysis reveals abundant developmental stage-specific and immunity-related genes in the pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus

: Vogel, H.; Badapanda, C.; Knorr, E.; Vilcinskas, A.


Insect molecular biology 23 (2014), No.1, pp.98-112
ISSN: 0962-1075
ISSN: 0307-6975
ISSN: 1365-2583
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

The pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus) is a major pest of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and other cruciferous crops in Europe. Pesticide-resistant pollen beetle populations are emerging, increasing the economic impact of this species. We isolated total RNA from the larval and adult stages, the latter either naïve or immunized by injection with bacteria and yeast. High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was carried out to establish a comprehensive transcriptome catalogue and to screen for developmental stage-specific and immunity-related transcripts. We assembled the transcriptome de novo by combining sequence tags from all developmental stages and treatments. Gene expression data based on normalized read counts revealed several functional gene categories that were differentially expressed between larvae and adults, particularly genes associated with digestion and detoxification that were induced in larvae, and genes associated with reproduction and environmental signalling that were induced in adults. We also identified many genes associated with microbe recognition, immunity-related signalling and defence effectors, such as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and lysozymes. Digital gene expression analysis revealed significant differences in the profile of AMPs expressed in larvae, naïve adults and immune-challenged adults, providing insight into the steady-state differences between developmental stages and the complex transcriptional remodelling that occurs following the induction of immunity. Our data provide insight into the adaptive mechanisms used by phytophagous insects and could lead to the development of more effective control strategies for insect pests.