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Special Issue "Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Klaus H. Hoffmann
Website
Guest Editor
Universitat Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
Interests: comparative physiology of invertebrates; insect biochemistry and endocrinology; molecular ecology; neuropeptides
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Of all the zoological classes, insects are the most numerous in species and the most varied in structure. Estimates of the number of species vary from 1 to 10 million, and 1018 individuals are estimated to be alive at any given moment. Insects are relatively ancient and have survived more or less unchanged in their basic winged form during the last 300 million years. Due to their adaptability in behavior, physiology, and biochemistry to changing environmental conditions, insects have successfully colonized habitats stretching from arid deserts to the Arctic and Antarctic and from freshwater brooks to hot springs and saline.

Knowledge of the physiology and biochemistry of insects developed extensively at the end of the 20th century. The reasons for this increased interest in insect physiology and biochemistry were that insects can be useful as model systems for experimental studies of principles, but also as economic models. Mechanisms of environmental adaptation in growth and development, energy metabolism, or respiration to temperature, oxygen tension, food supply or salt concentrations were the focus of interest. It was the time of “Physiological Ecology”.

About 30 years later, the omics era gives us the opportunity to gain deeper insight into the different aspects of insect physiology and environmental adaptation, for example, by silencing or overexpressing candidate genes of interest. A major challenge in current entomology is to integrate different levels of organization, from cellular mechanisms to functions in ecosystems. The rapid development of molecular techniques for studying physiological functions of genes will revolutionize entomology not only of so-called model organisms like Drosophila, but in general. When we understand how physiological processes are regulated and at what time, we will be able to manipulate them, thereby providing new attractive opportunities for practical applications, for example, in an ecologically friendly insect pest control.

We invite you to contribute original research articles and critical reviews on both basic and applied approaches in insect molecular biology. Articles on the molecular mechanisms of insect–plant interactions, and systems of insect communication in general, are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Klaus H. Hoffmann
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Insect development and reproduction
  • Molecular endocrinology/neuropeptides
  • Insect immunity
  • Photoperiodism
  • Cold hardiness
  • Global climate change
  • Insect aging
  • Insect–plant interactions
  • Molecular interactions of insects with microorganisms
  • Chemical communication
  • Biochemistry of insect venoms
  • Insect genomics and proteomics
  • Genetic engineering
  • Molecular evolution/population genetics
  • Insect biotechnology

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A Reverse Genetics System for the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus and Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1742; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051742 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Honey bee viruses are associated with honey bee colony decline. Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) is considered to have a strong impact on honey bee survival. Phylogenetic analysis of the viral genomes from several regions of the world showed that various IAPV lineages [...] Read more.
Honey bee viruses are associated with honey bee colony decline. Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) is considered to have a strong impact on honey bee survival. Phylogenetic analysis of the viral genomes from several regions of the world showed that various IAPV lineages had substantial differences in virulence. Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV), another important honey bee virus, can induce two significantly different symptoms. However, the infection characteristics and pathogenesis of IAPV and CBPV have not been completely elucidated. Here, we constructed infectious clones of IAPV and CBPV using a universal vector to provide a basis for studying their replication and pathogenesis. Infectious IAPV and CBPV were rescued from molecular clones of IAPV and CBPV genomes, respectively, that induced typical paralysis symptoms. The replication levels and expression proteins of IAPV and CBPV in progeny virus production were confirmed by qPCR and Western blot. Our results will allow further dissection of the role of each gene in the context of viral infection while helping to study viral pathogenesis and develop antiviral drugs using reverse genetics systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Bacteria from the Midgut of Common Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha L.) Larvae Exhibiting Antagonistic Activity Against Bacterial Symbionts of Entomopathogenic Nematodes: Isolation and Molecular Identification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020580 - 16 Jan 2020
Abstract
The mechanisms of action of the complex including entomopathogenic nematodes of the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis and their mutualistic partners, i.e., bacteria Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus, have been well explained, and the nematodes have been commercialized as biological control agents against many soil [...] Read more.
The mechanisms of action of the complex including entomopathogenic nematodes of the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis and their mutualistic partners, i.e., bacteria Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus, have been well explained, and the nematodes have been commercialized as biological control agents against many soil insect pests. However, little is known regarding the nature of the relationships between these bacteria and the gut microbiota of infected insects. In the present study, 900 bacterial isolates that were obtained from the midgut samples of Melolontha melolontha larvae were screened for their antagonistic activity against the selected species of the genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus. Twelve strains exhibited significant antibacterial activity in the applied tests. They were identified based on 16S rRNA and rpoB, rpoD, or recA gene sequences as Pseudomonas chlororaphis, Citrobacter murliniae, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Chryseobacterium lathyri, Chryseobacterium sp., Serratia liquefaciens, and Serratia sp. The culture filtrate of the isolate P. chlororaphis MMC3 L3 04 exerted the strongest inhibitory effect on the tested bacteria. The results of the preliminary study that are presented here, which focused on interactions between the insect gut microbiota and mutualistic bacteria of entomopathogenic nematodes, show that bacteria inhabiting the gut of insects might play a key role in insect resistance to entomopathogenic nematode pressure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Coding RNAs Participate in the Regulation of CRY-DASH in the Growth and Early Development of Saccharina japonica (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010309 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
CRY-DASH, a new cryptochrome blue light receptor, can repair damaged DNA and regulate secondary metabolism and development of fungus. However, its role in regulation during the growth of Saccharina japonica is still unclear. After cloning the full-length of CRY-DASH from S. japonica ( [...] Read more.
CRY-DASH, a new cryptochrome blue light receptor, can repair damaged DNA and regulate secondary metabolism and development of fungus. However, its role in regulation during the growth of Saccharina japonica is still unclear. After cloning the full-length of CRY-DASH from S. japonica (sjCRY-DASH), we deduced that its open reading frame was 1779 bp long and encoded 592 amino acids. sjCRY-DASH transcription was rapidly upregulated within 30 min in response to blue light and exhibited 24 h periodicity with different photoperiods. Moreover, sjCRY-DASH maintained the same periodicity in suitable growth temperature, suggesting a close relationship between this periodicity and circadian rhythm regulation. Novel-m3234-5p, which was targeted to sjCRY-DASH, decreased with increasing sjCRY-DASH transcription, acting as a negative modulator of sjCRY-DASH. Six long non-coding RNAs classified as long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) exhibited co-expression with sjCRY-DASH. A miRNA sjCRY DASH lincRNA network was consequently identified. By predicting the endogenous competing mRNAs of novel-m3234-5p, we found that sjCRY-DASH indirectly participated in the regulation of DNA damage repair, protein synthesis and processing, and actin transport. In conclusion, our results revealed that non-coding RNAs participate in the regulation of sjCRY-DASH, which played vital roles in the growth and early development of S. japonica. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Immune Functional Analysis of Chitin Deacetylase 3 from the Asian Citrus Psyllid Diaphorina citri
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010064 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Chitin deacetylase (CDA) is a chitin degradation enzyme that strictly catalyzes the deacetylation of chitin to form chitosan, which plays an important role in regulating growth and development, as well as the immune response. In this study, a chitin deacetylase 3 gene ( [...] Read more.
Chitin deacetylase (CDA) is a chitin degradation enzyme that strictly catalyzes the deacetylation of chitin to form chitosan, which plays an important role in regulating growth and development, as well as the immune response. In this study, a chitin deacetylase 3 gene (CDA3) was identified with a complete open reading frame (ORF) of 1362 bp from the genome database of Diaphorina citri, encoding a protein of 453 amino acids. Spatiotemporal expression analysis suggested that D. citri CDA3 (DcCDA3) had the highest expression level in the integument and third-instar nymph stage. Furthermore, DcCDA3 expression level can be induced by 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E). Injection of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus induced the upregulation of DcCDA3 in the midgut, while DcCDA3 was downregulated in the fat body. After silencing DcCDA3 by RNA interference, there was no influence on the D. citri phenotype. In addition, bactericidal tests showed that recombinant DcCDA3 inhibited gram-positive bacteria, including S. aureus and Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis). In conclusion, our results suggest that DcCDA3 might play an important role in the immune response of D. citri. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Rapid Molecular Identification of Scolytinae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(23), 5944; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20235944 - 26 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Routine identification of bark and ambrosia beetles is done using morphology. For people lacking the necessary taxonomic knowledge, proper identification of a novel specimen can be challenging and time consuming. This study compares the usefulness of four genetic markers (28S, EF-1a, ITS2, and [...] Read more.
Routine identification of bark and ambrosia beetles is done using morphology. For people lacking the necessary taxonomic knowledge, proper identification of a novel specimen can be challenging and time consuming. This study compares the usefulness of four genetic markers (28S, EF-1a, ITS2, and COI) and five primer pairs (D2F1/D3R2, eflafor1/eflarev1, ets149/efa754, ITS2F/ITS2R, and LCO1490/HCO2198) to identify Scolytinae beetles, and outlines a molecular identification strategy, with results possible in two days. Markers COI and EF-1a were selected based on the ability of the respective primers to amplify DNA from multiple genera (Coptoborus, Xyleborus, Hypothenemus, Theoborus, and Araptus) and the ability of the resulting sequences to provide accurate and unambiguous matches in GenBank. BLASTn analysis of EF-1a sequences (both primer pairs) correctly identified four out of the five genera and COI sequences identified at least one sample of every genus tested and was the only primer pair to correctly identify Araptus specimens. Further, 28S sequences successfully identified Coptoborus, Xyleborus, and Theoborus but not Hypothenemus or Araptus. The low number of EF-1a (1), 28S (7), and ITS2 (0) sequences from Araptus individuals present in GenBank compared with COI (137) is likely the reason that only the latter marker was capable of identifying members of this genus. ITS2 sequences were insufficient to identify any of the samples tested. This study also determined the minimum quantity of DNA that could be used for molecular identification. Primers D2F1 and D3R2, which had the highest rate of amplification in all genera tested, could yield an informative sequence with as little as 0.00048 ng of DNA, however, at least 0.0024 ng was needed for reliable amplification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Analysis of Carboxylesterases (COEs) in the Whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 4973; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20204973 - 09 Oct 2019
Abstract
The whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), an important invasive pest that causes severe damage to crops worldwide, has developed resistance to a variety of insecticides. Carboxylesterases (COEs) are important multifunctional enzymes involved in the growth, development, and xenobiotic metabolism of insects. However, systematic [...] Read more.
The whitefly (Bemisia tabaci), an important invasive pest that causes severe damage to crops worldwide, has developed resistance to a variety of insecticides. Carboxylesterases (COEs) are important multifunctional enzymes involved in the growth, development, and xenobiotic metabolism of insects. However, systematic studies on the COEs of B. tabaci are scarce. Here, 42 putative COEs in different functional categories were identified in the Mediterranean species of B. tabaci (B. tabaci MED) based on a genome database and neighbor-joining phylogeny. The expression patterns of the COEs were affected by the development of B. tabaci. The expression levels of six COEs were positively correlated with the concentration of imidacloprid to which B. tabaci adults were exposed. The mortality of B. tabaci MED adults fed dsBTbe5 (67.5%) and dsBTjhe2 (58.4%) was significantly higher than the adults fed dsEGFP (41.1%) when treated with imidacloprid. Our results provide a basis for functional research on COEs in B. tabaci and provide new insight into the imidacloprid resistance of B. tabaci. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Silencing of Odorant-Binding Protein Gene OBP3 Using RNA Interference Reduced Virus Transmission of Tomato Chlorosis Virus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(20), 4969; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20204969 - 09 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV) is widespread, seriously impacting tomato production throughout the world. ToCV is semi-persistently transmitted by Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Currently, insect olfaction is being studied to develop novel pest control technologies to effectively control B. tabaci and whitefly-borne virus [...] Read more.
Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV) is widespread, seriously impacting tomato production throughout the world. ToCV is semi-persistently transmitted by Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Currently, insect olfaction is being studied to develop novel pest control technologies to effectively control B. tabaci and whitefly-borne virus diseases. Despite current research efforts, no report has been published on the role of odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) in insect preference under the influence of plant virus. Our previous research showed that viruliferous B. tabaci preferred healthy plants at 48 h after virus acquisition. In this study, we determined the effect of OBPs on the host preference interactions of ToCV and whiteflies. Our results show that with the increase in acquisition time, the OBP gene expressions changed differently, and the OBP3 gene expression showed a trend of first rising and then falling, and reached the maximum at 48 h. These results indicate that OBP3 may participate in the host preference of viruliferous whiteflies to healthy plants. When the expression of the OBP3 gene was knocked down by an RNA interference (RNAi) technique, viruliferous Mediterranean (MED) showed no preference and the ToCV transmission rate was reduced by 83.3%. We conclude that OBP3 is involved in the detection of plant volatiles by viruliferous MED. Our results provide a theoretical basis and technical support for clarifying the transmission mechanism of ToCV by B. tabaci and could provide new avenues for controlling this plant virus and its vectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Silencing of the Chitin Synthase Gene Is Lethal to the Asian Citrus Psyllid, Diaphorina citri
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(15), 3734; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153734 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Chitin synthase is a critical enzyme that catalyzes N-acetylglucosamine to form chitin, which plays an important role in the growth and development of insects. In this study, we identified a chitin synthase gene (CHS) with a complete open reading frame [...] Read more.
Chitin synthase is a critical enzyme that catalyzes N-acetylglucosamine to form chitin, which plays an important role in the growth and development of insects. In this study, we identified a chitin synthase gene (CHS) with a complete open reading frame (ORF) of 3180 bp from the genome database of Diaphorina citri, encoding a protein of 1059 amino acid residues with the appropriate signature motifs (EDR and QRRRW). Reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis suggested that D. citri CHS (DcCHS) was expressed throughout all developmental stages and all tissues. DcCHS had the highest expression level in the integument and fifth-instar nymph stage. Furthermore, the effects of diflubenzuron (DFB) on D. citri mortality and DcCHS expression level were investigated using fifth-instar nymph through leaf dip bioassay, and the results revealed that the nymph exposed to DFB had the highest mortality compared with control group (Triton-100). Silencing of DcCHS by RNA interference resulted in malformed phenotypes and increased mortality with decreased molting rate. In addition, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) also revealed corresponding ultrastructural defects. Our results suggest that DcCHS might play an important role in the development of D. citri and can be used as a potential target for psyllid control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Adenosine Kinase from Bombyx mori: Enzymatic Activity, Structure, and Biological Function
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(15), 3732; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20153732 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Adenosine kinase (ADK) is the first enzyme in the adenosine remediation pathway that catalyzes adenosine phosphorylation into adenosine monophosphate, thus regulating adenosine homeostasis in cells. To obtain new insights into ADK from Bombyx mori (BmADK), we obtained recombinant BmADK, and analyzed its activity, [...] Read more.
Adenosine kinase (ADK) is the first enzyme in the adenosine remediation pathway that catalyzes adenosine phosphorylation into adenosine monophosphate, thus regulating adenosine homeostasis in cells. To obtain new insights into ADK from Bombyx mori (BmADK), we obtained recombinant BmADK, and analyzed its activity, structure, and function. Gel-filtration showed BmADK was a monomer with molecular weight of approximately 38 kDa. Circular dichroism spectra indicated BmADK had 36.8% α-helix and 29.9% β-strand structures, respectively. The structure of BmADK was stable in pH 5.0–11.0, and not affected under 30 °C. The melting temperature and the enthalpy and entropy changes in the thermal transition of BmADK were 46.51 ± 0.50 °C, 253.43 ± 0.20 KJ/mol, and 0.79 ± 0.01 KJ/(mol·K), respectively. Site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated G68, S201, E229, and D303 were key amino acids for BmADK structure and activity. In particular, S201A mutation significantly increased the α-helix content of BmADK and its activity. BmADK was located in the cytoplasm and highly expressed in the silk gland during the pre-pupal stage. RNA interference revealed the downregulation of BmADK decreased ATG-8, Caspase-9, Ec-R, E74A, and Br-C expression, indicating it was likely involved in 20E signaling, apoptosis, and autophagy to regulate silk gland degeneration and silkworm metamorphosis. Our study greatly expanded the knowledge on the activity, structure, and role of ADK. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Bacterial Communities and Virulence Associated with Pine Wood Nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus from Different Pinus spp.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(13), 3342; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20133342 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the causal agent of pine wilt disease, is a destructive threat to pine forests. The role of bacteria associated with B. xylophilus in pine wilt disease has attracted widespread attention. This study investigated variation in bacterial communities and the virulence [...] Read more.
Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the causal agent of pine wilt disease, is a destructive threat to pine forests. The role of bacteria associated with B. xylophilus in pine wilt disease has attracted widespread attention. This study investigated variation in bacterial communities and the virulence of surface-sterilized B. xylophilus from different Pinus spp. The predominant culturable bacteria of nematodes from different pines were Stenotrophomonas and Pseudomonas. Biolog EcoPlate analysis showed that metabolic diversity of bacteria in B. xylophilus from P. massoniana was the highest, followed by P. thunbergii and P. densiflora. High-throughput sequencing analysis indicated that bacterial diversity and community structure in nematodes from the different pine species varied, and the dominant bacteria were Stenotrophomonas and Elizabethkingia. The virulence determination of B. xylophilus showed that the nematodes from P. massoniana had the greatest virulence, followed by the nematodes from P. thunbergii and P. densiflora. After the nematodes were inoculated onto P. thunbergii, the relative abundance of the predominant bacteria changed greatly, and some new bacterial species emerged. Meanwhile, the virulence of all the nematode isolates increased after passage through P. thunbergii. These inferred that some bacteria associated with B. xylophilus isolated from different pine species might be helpful to adjust the PWN’s parasitic adaptability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Characterization of Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II Isoforms in Three Rice Planthoppers—Nilaparvata lugens, Laodelphax striatellus, and Sogatella furcifera
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(12), 3014; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20123014 - 20 Jun 2019
Abstract
This study reports the identification of splice variants for the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) gene from Nilaparvata lugens, Laodelphax striatellus, and Sogatella furcifera. CaMKII is a multifunctional serine/threonine protein kinase that transduces Ca2+ signals in cells [...] Read more.
This study reports the identification of splice variants for the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) gene from Nilaparvata lugens, Laodelphax striatellus, and Sogatella furcifera. CaMKII is a multifunctional serine/threonine protein kinase that transduces Ca2+ signals in cells to control a range of cellular processes in the nervous system and muscular tissue. Sequence analysis showed that CaMKII was 99.0% identical at the amino acid level among three rice planthoppers, with the exception of a variable region located in the association domain. Four kinds of 20–81 amino acid “inserts” were found in the variable region. The phylogenetic tree of the deduced amino acid sequences showed that the NlCaMKII isoforms were more closely related to the LsCaMKII isoforms and were slightly distinct from SfCaMKII. CaMKII-E was the dominant type among the five main isoforms. CaMKII genes were constitutively expressed in various nymphal and adult stages and in tested tissues with the predominant transcription occurring in the head. There was no major tissue specificity of isoform expression, but the expression pattern and relative abundance of isoforms varied when compared with the RT-PCR between tissues. In addition, RNAi in N. lugens with dsRNA at a concentration of 200 ng nymph−1 induced a mortality of 77.7% on the 10th day and a reduction in the mRNA expression level of 67.2%. Unlike the holometabolous insect Helicoverpa armigera, the knockdown of NlCaMKII did not suppress the expression of 20E response genes, such as ECR, USP1, and HR3, in N. lugens. These results indicate that the role of CaMKII in hemimetabolous insects may be different from that in holometabolous insects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
The Direct Interaction between E93 and Kr-h1 Mediated Their Antagonistic Effect on Ovary Development of the Brown Planthopper
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2431; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102431 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The juvenile hormone (JH) signalling and ecdysone signalling pathways are crucial endocrine signalling pathways that orchestrate the metamorphosis of insects. The metamorphic process, the morphological change from the immature to adult forms, is orchestrated by the dramatic reduction of JH and downstream transcription [...] Read more.
The juvenile hormone (JH) signalling and ecdysone signalling pathways are crucial endocrine signalling pathways that orchestrate the metamorphosis of insects. The metamorphic process, the morphological change from the immature to adult forms, is orchestrated by the dramatic reduction of JH and downstream transcription factors. The Krüppel-homologue 1 (Kr-h1), a downstream transcription factor of the JH signalling pathway, represses E93 expression with an anti-metamorphic effect. However, the biochemical interaction between Kr-h1 and E93 and how the interaction regulates ovary development, a sensitive readout for endocrine regulation, remain unknown. In brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, we found that the downregulation of Kr-h1 partially recovered the deteriorating effect of E93 knock-down on metamorphosis. Dual knock down of E93 and Kr-h1 increased ovary development and the number of eggs laid when compared to the effects of the knock down of E93 alone, indicating that the knock down of Kr-h1 partially recovered the deteriorating effect of the E93 knock-down on ovary development. In summary, our results indicated that E93 and Kr-h1 have antagonistic effects on regulating metamorphosis and ovary development. We tested the biochemical interaction between these two proteins and found that these molecules interact directly. Kr-h1 V and E93 II undergo strong and specific interactions, indicating that the potential interacting domain may be located in these two regions. We inferred that the nuclear receptor interaction motif (NR-box) and helix-turn-helix DNA binding motifs of the pipsqueak family (RHF1) are candidate domains responsible for the protein–protein interaction between E93 and Kr-h1. Moreover, the HA-tagged E93 and FLAG-tagged Kr-h1 were co-localized in the nucleus, and the expression of E93 was increased when Kr-h1 was downregulated, supporting that these two proteins may interact antagonistically. JH and ecdysone signalling are critical for the control of ovary development and pest populations. Our result is important for understanding the interactions between E93 and related proteins, which makes it possible to identify potential targets and develop new pesticides for pest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessArticle
P-element Somatic Inhibitor Protein Binding a Target Sequence in dsx Pre-mRNA Conserved in Bombyx mori and Spodoptera litura
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092361 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Bombyx mori doublesex (Bmdsx) functions as a double-switch gene in the final step of the sex-determination cascade in the silkworm Bombyx mori. The P-element somatic inhibitor (PSI) protein in B. mori interacts with Bmdsx pre-mRNA in CE1 as an exonic [...] Read more.
Bombyx mori doublesex (Bmdsx) functions as a double-switch gene in the final step of the sex-determination cascade in the silkworm Bombyx mori. The P-element somatic inhibitor (PSI) protein in B. mori interacts with Bmdsx pre-mRNA in CE1 as an exonic splicing silencer to promote male-specific splicing of Bmdsx. However, the character of the interaction between BmPSI and Bmdsx pre-mRNA remains unclear. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) results showed that the four KH_1 motifs in BmPSI are all essential for the binding, especially the former two KH_1 motifs. Three active sites (I116, L127, and IGGI) in the KH_1 motif were found to be necessary for the binding through EMSA, circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). The PSI homologous protein in S. litura (SlPSI) was purified and the binding of SlPSI and CE1 was verified. Compared with BmPSI, the mutant SlPSI proteins of I116 and IGGI lost their ability to bind to CE1. In conclusion, the binding of PSI and dsx pre-mRNA are generally conserved in both B. mori and S. litura. These findings provide clues for sex determination in Lepidoptera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Emerging Proteomic Research Facilitates in-Depth Understanding of the Biology of Honeybees
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(17), 4252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20174252 - 30 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Advances in instrumentation and computational analysis in proteomics have opened new doors for honeybee biological research at the molecular and biochemical levels. Proteomics has greatly expanded the understanding of honeybee biology since its introduction in 2005, through which key signaling pathways and proteins [...] Read more.
Advances in instrumentation and computational analysis in proteomics have opened new doors for honeybee biological research at the molecular and biochemical levels. Proteomics has greatly expanded the understanding of honeybee biology since its introduction in 2005, through which key signaling pathways and proteins that drive honeybee development and behavioral physiology have been identified. This is critical for downstream mechanistic investigation by knocking a gene down/out or overexpressing it and being able to attribute a specific phenotype/biochemical change to that gene. Here, we review how emerging proteome research has contributed to the new understanding of honeybee biology. A systematic and comprehensive analysis of global scientific progress in honeybee proteome research is essential for a better understanding of research topics and trends, and is potentially useful for future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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Open AccessReview
Insect ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) Transporters: Roles in Xenobiotic Detoxification and Bt Insecticidal Activity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(11), 2829; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20112829 - 10 Jun 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, a large class of transmembrane proteins, are widely found in organisms and play an important role in the transport of xenobiotics. Insect ABC transporters are involved in insecticide detoxification and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin perforation. The complete ABC transporter [...] Read more.
ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, a large class of transmembrane proteins, are widely found in organisms and play an important role in the transport of xenobiotics. Insect ABC transporters are involved in insecticide detoxification and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin perforation. The complete ABC transporter is composed of two hydrophobic transmembrane domains (TMDs) and two nucleotide binding domains (NBDs). Conformational changes that are needed for their action are mediated by ATP hydrolysis. According to the similarity among their sequences and organization of conserved ATP-binding cassette domains, insect ABC transporters have been divided into eight subfamilies (ABCA–ABCH). This review describes the functions and mechanisms of ABC transporters in insecticide detoxification, plant toxic secondary metabolites transport and insecticidal activity of Bt toxin. With improved understanding of the role and mechanisms of ABC transporter in resistance to insecticides and Bt toxins, we can identify valuable target sites for developing new strategies to control pests and manage resistance and achieve green pest control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Ecology, Physiology and Biochemistry of Insects)
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