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Insect Mol Biol. 2016 Jun;25(3):251-8. doi: 10.1111/imb.12215. Epub 2016 Feb 20.

Evolutionary conservation of candidate osmoregulation genes in plant phloem sap-feeding insects.

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Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.


The high osmotic pressure generated by sugars in plant phloem sap is reduced in phloem-feeding aphids by sugar transformations and facilitated water flux in the gut. The genes mediating these osmoregulatory functions have been identified and validated empirically in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum: sucrase 1 (SUC1), a sucrase in glycoside hydrolase family 13 (GH13), and aquaporin 1 (AQP1), a member of the Drosophila integral protein (DRIP) family of aquaporins. Here, we describe molecular analysis of GH13 and AQP genes in phloem-feeding representatives of the four phloem-feeding groups: aphids (Myzus persicae), coccids (Planococcus citri), psyllids (Diaphorina citri, Bactericera cockerelli) and whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 and MED). A single candidate GH13-SUC gene and DRIP-AQP gene were identified in the genome/transcriptome of most insects tested by the criteria of sequence motif and gene expression in the gut. Exceptionally, the psyllid Ba. cockerelli transcriptome included a gut-expressed Pyrocoelia rufa integral protein (PRIP)-AQP, but has no DRIP-AQP transcripts, suggesting that PRIP-AQP is recruited for osmoregulatory function in this insect. This study indicates that phylogenetically related SUC and AQP genes may generally mediate osmoregulatory functions in these diverse phloem-feeding insects, and provides candidate genes for empirical validation and development as targets for osmotic disruption of pest species.


aphid; aquaporin; osmoregulation; psyllid; sucrase; whitefly; α-glucohydrolase

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