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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics
Vol. 7, No.
3, 2012; Pages: 233 - 242

Bacillus thuringiensis Cry3Aa protoxin intoxication of Tenebrio molitor induces widespread changes in the expression of serine peptidase transcripts

Brenda Oppert, Alexander G. Martynov, Elena N. Elpidina

USDA Agricultural Research Service, Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Manhattan, KS, USA.

Abstract

The yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, is a pest of stored grain products and is sensitive to the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry3Aa toxin. As digestive peptidases are a determining factor in Cry toxicity and resistance, we evaluated the expression of peptidase transcripts in the midgut of T. molitor larvae fed either a control or Cry3Aa protoxin diet for 24 h (RNA-Seq), or in larvae exposed to the protoxin for 6, 12, or 24 h (microarrays). Cysteine peptidase transcripts (9) were similar to cathepsins B, L, and K, and their expression did not vary more than 2.5-fold in control and Cry3Aa-treated larvae. Serine peptidase transcripts (48) included trypsin, chymotrypsin and chymotrypsin-like, elastase 1-like, and unclassified serine peptidases, as well as homologs lacking functional amino acids. Highly expressed trypsin and chymotrypsin transcripts were severely repressed, and most serine peptidase transcripts were expressed 2- to 15-fold lower in Cry3Aa-treated larvae. Many serine peptidase and homolog transcripts were found only in control larvae. However, expression of a few serine peptidase transcripts was increased or found only in Cry3Aa-treated larvae. Therefore, Bt intoxication significantly impacted the expression of serine peptidases, potentially important in protoxin processing, while the insect maintained the production of critical digestive cysteine peptidases.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Tenebrio molitor; Cry3Aa; Yellow mealworm; Insect peptidases; Microbial biopesticide; Functional genomics; Insect transcriptome.


 

 

 
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