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Title: Silencing a sugar transporter gene reduces fecundity, growth and development in the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Stal) (Hemiptera: Delphacidae)

item GE, LIN-QUAN - Yangzhou University
item JIANG, YI-PING - Yangzhou University
item XIA, TING - Yangzhou University
item SONG, QI-SHENG - University Of Missouri System
item Stanley, David
item KUAI, PENG - Yangzhou University
item LU, XIU-LI - Yangzhou University
item YANG, GUP-QING - Yangzhou University
item WU, JIN-CAI - Yangzhou University

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/8/2015
Publication Date: 7/27/2015
Citation: Ge, L., Jiang, Y., Xia, T., Song, Q., Stanley, D.W., Kuai, P., Lu, X., Yang, G., Wu, J. 2015. Silencing a sugar transporter gene reduces fecundity, growth and development in the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Stal) (Hemiptera: Delphacidae). Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/SREP.2015-12194.

Interpretive Summary: Long-term agricultural sustainability is severely threatened by widespread use of classical insecticides. Threats include increasing resistance to insecticides and sharply decreasing environmental quality. These issues drive research into alternatives to classical insecticides. One potential alternative is based on applying molecular tools to inhibit expression of genes that are crucial to insect pest biology. In this paper, we examined the impact of inhibiting sugar uptake genes in a pest insect species. We found that inhibiting sugar uptake by the pest led to retarded development, reduced adult weights and reduced fecundity. These findings demonstrate that sugar transport may be a novel target for developing insect pest control technologies. Ultimately, this research will benefit farmers who produce food crops and the people who consume them.

Technical Abstract: The brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens, sugar transporter gene 6 (Nlst6) is a facilitative glucose/fructose transporter expressed in midgut that mediates sugar uptake from rice phloem, a major energy source for BPH. In mammals, down regulation of the major sugar transporter gene GLUT or SGLT resulted in malabsorption. However, there is no evidence in insect that down regulating expression of sugar transporter genes influences normal growth, development, and fecundity. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to suspect that transporter-mediated uptake of dietary sugar is particularly essential to the biology of phloem-feeding insects. Based on this reasoning, we posed the hypothesis that silencing, or reducing expression, of a BPH sugar transporter gene would be deleterious to the insects. To test our hypothesis, we examined the effects of Nlst6 knockdown on BPH biology. Silencing Nlst6 exerted profound effects on BPHs. It significantly prolonged the pre-oviposition period, shortened the oviposition period, decreased the number of eggs deposited and reduced body weight compared to controls. Knockdown significantly decreased fat body and ovarian (particularly vitellogenin) protein content (as well as decreased vitellogenin gene expression). Experimental BPHs accumulated less fat body glucose compared to controls. We infer that Nlst6 acts in the development, growth, and fecundity. Thus, Nlst6 has the potential as a novel target gene for control of phloem-feeding pest insects in transgenic plants via RNAi or emerging molecular tools.