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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Feb 13;164(4):275-279. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2013.02.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Molecular characterization of genes encoding inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels in the bed bug (Cimex lectularius).

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  • 1Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural and Research Development Center, Wooster, OH 44691, USA.


The molecular genetics of inward-rectifier potassium (Kir) channels in insects is poorly understood. To date, Kir channel genes have been characterized only from a few representative dipterans (i.e., fruit flies and mosquitoes). The goal of the present study was to characterize Kir channel cDNAs in a hemipteran, the bed bug (Cimex lectularius). Using our previously reported bed bug transcriptome (RNA-seq), we identified two cDNAs that encode putative Kir channels. One was a full-length cDNA that encodes a protein belonging to the insect 'Kir3' clade, which we designate as 'ClKir3'. The other was a partial cDNA that encodes a protein with similarity to both the insect 'Kir1' and 'Kir2' clades, which we designate as 'ClKir1/2'. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that ClKir1/2 and ClKir3 exhibited peak expression levels in late-instar nymphs and early-instar nymphs, respectively. Furthermore, ClKir3, but not ClKir1/2, showed tissue-specific expression in Malpighian tubules of adult bed bugs. Lastly, using an improved procedure for delivering double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) to male and female bed bugs (via the cervical membrane) we demonstrate rapid and systemic knockdown of ClKir3 transcripts. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the bed bug possesses at least two genes encoding Kir channels, and that RNAi is possible for at least Kir3, thereby offering a potential approach for elucidating the roles of Kir channel genes in bed bug physiology.

Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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