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J Insect Physiol. 2012 Dec;58(12):1626-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2012.10.002. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Transcriptome analysis of the salivary glands of potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae.

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Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States.


The potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae, is a pest of economic crops in the United States and Canada, where it causes damage known as hopperburn. Saliva, along with mechanical injury, leads to decreases in gas exchange rates, stunting and chlorosis. Although E. fabae saliva is known to induce plant responses, little knowledge exists of saliva composition at the molecular level. We subjected the salivary glands of E. fabae to Roche 454-pyrosequencing which resulted significant number (30,893) of expressed sequence tags including 2805 contigs and 28,088 singletons. A high number of sequences (78%) showed similarity to other insect species in GenBank, including Triboliumcastaneum, Drosophilamelanogaster and Acrythosiphonpisum. KEGG analysis predicted the presence of pathways for purine and thiamine metabolic, biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, drug metabolism, and lysine degradation. Pfam analysis showed a high number of cellulase and carboxylesterase protein domains. Expression analysis of candidate genes (alpha amylase, lipase, pectin lyase, etc.) among different tissues revealed tissue-specific expression of digestive enzymes in E. fabae. This is the first study to characterize the sialotranscriptome of E. fabae and the first for any species in the family of Cicadellidae. Due to the status of these insects as economic pests, knowledge of which genes are active in the salivary glands is important for understanding their impact on host plants.

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