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Insect Mol Biol. 2019 Aug;28(4):550-567. doi: 10.1111/imb.12572. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

The functional difference of eight chitinase genes between male and female of the cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis.

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Ministry of Agriculture Key Lab of Molecular Biology of Crop Pathogens and Insects/Institute of Insect Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture (Saba Basha), Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.


The cotton mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is a polyphagous insect that attacks tens of plant and causes substantial economic loss. Insect chitinases are required to remove the old cuticle to allow for continued growth and development. Though insect chitinases have been well studied in tens of insects, their functions in mealybug are still not addressed. Here, we sequenced the transcriptomes of adult males and females, from which eight chitinase genes were identified. We then used the method of rapid amplification of cDNA ends to amplify their full length. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that these genes clustered into five subgroups. Among which, group II PsCht2 had the longest transcript and was highly expressed at second instar nymph. PsCht10, PsCht3-3 and PsIDGF were highly expressed in the adult females, whereas PsCht4 and PsCht4-1 were significantly expressed at the male pupa and adult male. Next, we knocked down all eight chitinase genes by feeding the double-stranded RNA. Knockdown of PsCht4 or PsCht4-1 led to the failure of moult and, silencing PsCht5 resulted in pupation defect, while silencing PsCht10 led to small body size, suggesting these genes have essential roles in development and can be used as a potential target for pest control.


Phenacoccus solenopsis ; Hemiptera; IDGF; RNAi; chitinases; transcriptome


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