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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Aug;63:104-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Towards understanding the molecular basis of cockroach tergal gland morphogenesis. A transcriptomic approach.

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Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Passeig Marítim 37, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Passeig Marítim 37, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

Erratum in

  • Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Oct;65:108.


The tergal gland is a structure exclusive of adult male cockroaches that produces substances attractive to the female and facilitates mating. It is formed de novo in tergites 7 and 8 during the transition from the last nymphal instar to the adult. Thus, the tergal gland can afford a suitable case study to investigate the molecular basis of a morphogenetic process occurring during metamorphosis. Using Blattella germanica as model, we constructed transcriptomes from male tergites 7-8 in non-metamorphosing specimens, and from the same tergites in metamorphosing specimens. We performed a de novo assembly all available transcriptomes to construct a reference transcriptome and we identified transcripts by homology. Finally we mapped all reads into the reference transcriptome in order to perform analysis of differentially expressed genes and a GO-enrichment test. A total of 5622 contigs appeared to be overrepresented in the transcriptome of metamorphosing specimens with respect to those specimens that did not metamorphose. Among these genes, there were six GO-terms with a p-value lower than 0.05 and among them GO: 0003676 ("nucleic acid binding") was especially interesting since it included transcription factors (TFs). Examination of TF-Pfam-motifs revealed that the transcriptome of metamorphosing specimens contains the highest diversity of these motifs, with 29 different types (seven of them exclusively expressed in this stage) compared with that of non-metamorphosing specimens, which contained 24 motif types. Transcriptome comparisons suggest that TFs are important drivers of the process of tergal gland formation during metamorphosis.


Blattella; Cockroach; Insect metamorphosis; Tergal gland

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