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Open AccessArticle

The Roles of DNA Methyltransferases 1 (DNMT1) in Regulating Sexual Dimorphism in the Cotton Mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis

1
Ministry of Agriculture Key Lab of Molecular Biology of Crop Pathogens and Insects/Institute of Insect Science, Zhejiang University, 866 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou 310058, China
2
Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture (Saba Basha), Alexandria University, Alexandria 21531, Egypt
3
College of Life Sciences and Resource Environment/Key Laboratory of Crop Growth and Development Regulation, Yichun University, Jiangxi Province, Yichun 336000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11020121
Received: 30 December 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 12 February 2020
The cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis, is an invasive pest that can cause massive damage to many host plants of agricultural importance. P. solenopsis is highly polyphagous, and shows extreme sexual dimorphism between males and females. The functions of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) enzymes in the cotton mealybug have not been well studied. Here, we carried out an investigation of DNMTs in cotton mealybug to study their roles in sexual dimorphism. We found that the cotton mealybug has two copies of PsDnmt1, but Dnmt3 is absent. We then amplified the full-length cDNAs of PsDnmt1A (2,225 bp) and PsDnmt1B (2,862 bp) using rapid amplification cDNA ends (RACE). Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR shows that both PsDnmt1A and PsDnmt1B are highly expressed in adult males, while the expression of PsDnmt1B is 30-fold higher in gravid females than in virgin females. We knocked down PsDnmt1A and PsDnmt1B with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), and both genes were successfully down-regulated after 24 h or 72 h in adult females and pupa (t-test, p < 0.05). Down-regulating the expression of these two DNMT genes led to offspring lethality and abnormal body color in adult females. Furthermore, the silencing of PsDnmt1B induced abnormal wing development in emerged adult males. Our results provide evidence that PsDnmt1 plays a crucial role in regulating sexual dimorphism in the cotton mealybug.
Keywords: Hemiptera; cotton mealybug; sexual dimorphism; DNA methylation; DNMT; RNAi Hemiptera; cotton mealybug; sexual dimorphism; DNA methylation; DNMT; RNAi
MDPI and ACS Style

Omar, M.A.; Li, M.; Liu, F.; He, K.; Qasim, M.; Xiao, H.; Jiang, M.; Li, F. The Roles of DNA Methyltransferases 1 (DNMT1) in Regulating Sexual Dimorphism in the Cotton Mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis. Insects 2020, 11, 121.

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