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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #398807

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

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: Identification and expression profiling of serine protease-related genes in Tenebrio molitor

item WU, CHAO-YAN - Southwest Forestry University
item XIAO, KAI-RAN - Southwest Forestry University
item WANG, LONG-ZHANG - Southwest Forestry University
item WANG, JUN - Southwest Forestry University
item SONG, QI-SHENG - University Of Missouri
item Stanley, David
item WEI, SHU-JUN - (NCE, CECR)networks Of Centres Of Exellence Of Canada, Centres Of Excellence For Commercilization A
item ZHU, JIA-YING - Southwest Forestry University

Submitted to: Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2022
Publication Date: 8/30/2022
Citation: Wu, C., Xiao, K., Wang, L., Wang, J., Song, Q., Stanley, D.W., Wei, S., Zhu, J. 2022. Identification and expression profiling of serine protease-related genes in Tenebrio molitor. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 111(3). Article 21963.

Interpretive Summary: About 1 to 3% of all insect species are call pests because they are harmful to human and food animal health, to buildings and other structures and to virtually all plant crops. Some insect pests completely destroy crops, sometimes to the extent of causing famines. Measures to control pest insects usually rely on applications of chemical insecticides, which leads to two serious problems. One is direct chemical damage to environments and the other is insects can rapidly develop resistance to insecticides. Efforts to reduce reliance on these chemicals, scientists around the world are working to develop genetic insect control tools that can be targeted to individual pest species. The problem is there is not enough information on insect-specific genes to increase progress. In this paper, we contribute new knowledge on 409 genes that act in life processes within a specific pest, the yellow mealworm beetle. These genes act in all insect organs and tissues. Here we report on expression of these genes and on their many specific functions within specific organs and tissues. This new information will be used by scientists around the world who are working to reduce chemical insecticide applications. This will support development of safe, reliable pest control technologies that will lead to abundant production of healthy foods needed to meet the nutritional requirements of our rapidly growing population.

Technical Abstract: In insects, serine proteases and serine protease homologs (SPs/SPHs) are involved in a variety of physiological processes including digestion, development and immunity. Here, we identified 113 SPs and 87 SPHs genes in genome of the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor. Based on the features of domain structure, they were divided into “S” group containing single Tryp-SPc or Tryp-SPHc domain, “C” group containing 1 to 4 clip domain (CLIPA-D) and “M” group containing the CBD, CUB, EGF, Fz, Gd, LDLa, PAN, SEA, SR, Sushi and TSP domains. They have 115, 48 and 37 gene members, respectively. According to the active sites in the catalytic triad, the putative trypsin, chymotrypsin or elastase-like enzyme specificity of the identified SPs/SPHs were predicted. Phylogenetic and genomic location analyses revealed that gene duplication exists in the large amount of SPs/SPHs. Gene expression profiling using RNA-seq data revealed along with RT-PCR analysis showed that most SP/SPH genes display life stage specific expression patterns, indicating their important roles in development. Many SP/SPH genes are specifically or highly expressed in gut, salivary gland, fat body, hemocyte, ovary and testis, suggesting that they participate in digestion, immunity and reproduction. The findings lay the foundation for further functional characterization of SPs/SPHs in T. molitor.