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G3 (Bethesda). 2019 Feb 7. pii: g3.200995.2018. doi: 10.1534/g3.118.200995. [Epub ahead of print]

A Large Scale Systemic RNAi Screen in the Red Flour Beetle Tribolium castaneum Identifies Novel Genes Involved in Insect Muscle Development.

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Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU).
University of Göttingen.
Universität zu Köln.
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)


Although muscle development has been widely studied in Drosophila melanogaster there are still many gaps in our knowledge, and it is not known to which extent this knowledge can be transferred to other insects. To help in closing these gaps we participated in a large-scale RNAi screen that used the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, as a screening platform. The effects of systemic RNAi were screened upon double-stranded RNA injections into appropriate muscle-EGFP tester strains. Injections into pupae were followed by the analysis of the late embryonic/early larval muscle patterns, and injections into larvae by the analysis of the adult thoracic muscle patterns. Herein we describe the results of the first-pass screens with pupal and larval injections, which covered ∼8,500 and ∼5,000 genes, respectively, of a total of ∼16,500 genes of the Tribolium genome. Apart from many genes known from Drosophila as regulators of muscle development, a collection of genes previously unconnected to muscle development yielded phenotypes in larval body wall and leg muscles as well as in indirect flight muscles. We then present the main candidates from the pupal injection screen that remained after being processed through a series of verification and selection steps. Further, we discuss why distinct though overlapping sets of genes are revealed by the Drosophila and Tribolium screening approaches.


RNAi screen; Tribolium; muscle development

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