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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #394626

Research Project: Biologically-Based Products for Insect Pest Control and Emerging Needs in Agriculture

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: Genomic and transcriptomic analyses of chitin metabolism enzymes in Tenebrio molitor

item LI, LU - Southwest Forestry University
item WANG, YU-QIN - Southwest Forestry University
item LI, GUANG-YA - Southwest Forestry University
item SONG, QI-SHENG - University Of Missouri
item Stanley, David
item WEI, SHU-JUN - Southwest Forestry University
item ZHU, JIA-YING - Southwest Forestry University

Submitted to: Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2022
Publication Date: 7/9/2022
Citation: Li, L., Wang, Y., Li, G., Song, Q., Stanley, D.W., Wei, S., Zhu, J. 2022. Genomic and transcriptomic analyses of chitin metabolism enzymes in Tenebrio molitor. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 111(3). Article 21950.

Interpretive Summary: Chitin is composed of long chains of sugar molecule and it makes up the surface cuticles and a few internal surfaces of insects. It is created and degraded a various stages of insect life. Because it is absolutely essential for insect life, the genes responsible for making and degrading chitin are of interest. A problem is that there is not enough information about the genes involved in chitin to design novel insect management technologies. The United States Department of Agriculture estimated that between a quarter and a third of all the world's stored grain is destroyed by stored grain pests during storage. In this paper, we identified 57 genes that act on chitin in a serious pest of stored grains, such as wheat, corn and rice. Our identification and analysis of the these genes will guide scientists around the globe who are working to develop novel pest control technologies. Our work will contribute to invention of new technologies that will lead to increased food security, food safety and generation of safe, healthy foods for a rapidly growing human population.

Technical Abstract: Chitin is of great importance in the cuticle and inner cuticular linings of insects. Chitin synthases (CHSs), chitin deacetylases (CDAs), chitinases (CHTs) and ß-N-acetylhexosaminidases (HEXs) are important enzymes required for chitin metabolism, and they paly essential role in development and metamorphosis. Although chitin metabolism genes have been well characterized in limited insects, the information on in them of the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, as a model insect, is presently still unavailable. With the help of bioinformatics, we identified 57 genes that encode putative chitin metabolism enzymes, including two 2 CHSs, 11 CDAs, 34 CHTs and ten 10 HEXs in the genome of this darkling beetle. All these genes have the conserved domains and motifs of their corresponding protein family. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that CHS genes were divided into two groups. CDA genes were clustered into five groups. CHT genes were phylogenetically grouped into 11 clades, among which one in the endo-ß-N-acetylglucosaminidases ENGase group and the others were classified in the glycoside hydrolase family 18 groups. HEX genes belong were assorted into six groups . Developmental and tissue-specific expression profiling indicated that the identified chitin metabolism genes show dynamical expression patterns concurrent with specific instar during molting period, suggesting their significant roles in molting and development. Different of themThey are predominantly expressed in different tissues or body parts, implying their functional specialization and diversity. The results provide important information for further clarifying their biological functions using the yellow mealworm as an ideal experimental insect.