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J Insect Physiol. 2006 Nov-Dec;52(11-12):1143-52. Epub 2006 Sep 17.

Expression patterns of antibacterial genes in the Hessian fly.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


We report on the transcriptional patterns of three antibacterial genes, a defensin (MdesDEF-1), a diptericin (MdesDIP-1) and a lysozyme (MdesLYS-1), during development in Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor. Quantitative analysis by real-time PCR of mRNA levels in different tissues revealed a predominance of the transcripts for all three genes in the midgut, while analysis during development revealed greatest abundance in mRNA during the 3rd-instar. An evaluation of the midgut lumen revealed the presence of a diverse bacterial flora in larvae maintained on susceptible wheat. Further, the titer of bacteria in the midgut increased approximately 250-fold from the 1st-instar through the 2nd-instar. However, no detectable titer of bacteria was observed from the midgut lumen of larvae maintained on resistant plants. PCR amplicons produced using primers designed to conserved regions of the Pseudomonas 16S rRNA gene supported taxonomic identification for some of the bacteria comprising the midgut flora as belonging to the genus Pseudomonas. Analysis of mRNA for the Hessian fly antibacterial genes in larvae feeding on susceptible and resistant plants revealed an increase in the transcript level for MdesDEF-1 in 1st-instar larvae on susceptible plants, while the transcript levels for MdesDIP-1 and MdesLYS-1 were constant. Results suggest the transcriptional patterns of the Hessian fly antibacterial genes observed could be associated with the developing midgut bacterial flora present in larvae feeding on susceptible wheat as well as microbial challenge encountered at other stages in development.

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