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Insect Mol Biol. 2005 Oct;14(5):453-63.

The Tribolium chitin synthase genes TcCHS1 and TcCHS2 are specialized for synthesis of epidermal cuticle and midgut peritrophic matrix.

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  • 1USDA-ARS-Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, Manhattan, KS 66502, USA.


Functional analysis of the two chitin synthase genes, TcCHS1 and TcCHS2, in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, revealed unique and complementary roles for each gene. TcCHS1-specific RNA interference (RNAi) disrupted all three types of moult (larval-larval, larval-pupal and pupal-adult) and greatly reduced whole-body chitin content. Exon-specific RNAi showed that splice variant 8a of TcCHS1 was required for both the larval-pupal and pupal-adult moults, whereas splice variant 8b was required only for the latter. TcCHS2-specific RNAi had no effect on metamorphosis or on total body chitin content. However, RNAi-mediated down-regulation of TcCHS2, but not TcCHS1, led to cessation of feeding, a dramatic shrinkage in larval size and reduced chitin content in the midgut.

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