Transcriptional analysis of the adaptive digestive system of the migratory locust in response to plant defensive protease inhibitors
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
London :Nature Publishing Group
Engineering sciences. Technology
Scientific reports. - London, 2011, currens
, 15 p.
University of Antwerp
Herbivorous insects evolved adaptive mechanisms to compensate for the presence of plant defensive protease inhibitors (PI) in their food. The underlying regulatory mechanisms of these compensatory responses remain largely elusive. In the current study, we investigated the initiation of this adaptive response in the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, via microarray analysis of gut tissues. Four hours after dietary uptake of PIs, 114 and 150 transcripts were respectively found up- or downregulated. The results suggest a quick trade-off between compensating for potential loss of digestive activity on the one hand, and stress tolerance, defense, and structural integrity of the gut on the other hand. We additionally addressed the role of a group of related upregulated hexamerin-like proteins in the PI-induced response. Simultaneous knockdown of corresponding transcripts by means of RNA interference resulted in a reduced capacity of the locust nymphs to cope with the effects of PI. Moreover, since insect hexamerins have been shown to bind Juvenile Hormone (JH), we also investigated the effect of JH on the proteolytic digestion in L. migratoria. Our results indicate that JH has a stimulatory effect on the expression of three homologous chymotrypsin genes, while knocking down the JH receptor (methoprene tolerant) led to opposite effects.