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Insect Mol Biol. 2014 Dec;23(6):821-32. doi: 10.1111/imb.12127. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Characterization of horizontally transferred β-fructofuranosidase (ScrB) genes in Agrilus planipennis.

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


The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an important invasive insect pest of Fraxinus spp. that feeds on host tissues containing high levels of sucrose. However, little is known about how it digests sucrose. Here, using larval midgut transcriptome data and preliminary genome sequence efforts, two β-fructofuranosidase-encoding ScrB genes, AplaScrB-1 and AplaScrB-2, were identified, and proved to reside within the A. planipennis genome. Homology and phylogenetic analysis revealed that they were acquired by A. planipennis via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from bacteria, possibly an event independent from that reported in bark beetles (eg ScrB genes). Microsynteny between A. planipennis DNA scaffold #2042940, which hosts AplaScrB-1, and a region in the Tribolium castaneum chromosome LG4 suggested that A. planipennis gained this gene after the separation of Buprestidae and Tenebrionidae. Although both of the putative AplaScrB proteins have conserved β-fructofuranosidase motifs, only AplaScrB-2 was predicted to be a secretory protein. Expression of AplaScrB-1 seemed constitutive during development and in all tissues examined, whereas AplaScrB-2 showed a peak expression in adults and in the midgut. We propose that acquisition of these genes by A. planipennis from bacteria is adaptive, and specifically AplaScrB-2 is involved in breaking down dietary sucrose to obtain energy for development.


Agrilus planipennis; ScrB; horizontal gene transfer; sucrose; β-fructofuranosidase

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