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Massive shift in gene expression during transitions between developmental stages of the Gall Midge, Mayetiola destructor

Ming-Shun Chen, Sanzhen Liu, Haiyan Wang, Xiaoyan Cheng, Mustapha El Bouhssini, R. Jeff Whitworth
Plos One 2016 v.11 no.5 pp. 1-19
Mayetiola destructor, adults, cell division, data collection, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, host plants, insect development, insects, larvae, larval development, pupae
Mayetiola destructor is a destructive pest of wheat and has six different developmental stages. Molecular mechanisms controlling the transition between different developmental stages remain unknown. Here we analyzed genes that were expressed differentially between two successive developmental stages, including larvae at 1, 3, 5, and 7 days, pupae, and adults. A total of 17,344 genes were expressed during one or more of these identified stages of the insect. Among the expressed genes, 38-68% were differently expressed between two successive stages, with roughly equal percentages of up- and down-regulated genes. Analysis of the functions of the differentially expressed genes revealed that each developmental stage had some unique types of expressed genes that are characteristic of the physiology at that stage. For example, effector genes for host manipulation and genes associated with cell division were broadly up-regulated when 1-day old larvae advanced to 3-day old larvae, reflecting the state of actively attacking host plants and cell division-based larval growth during this period. This is the first genome-wide analysis of genes differentially expressed in different developmental stages in a gall midge species and also represents the most comprehensive analysis so far among all other insect species. The large dataset of up- and down-regulated genes in each stage of the insect shall be very useful for future research to elucidate molecular mechanisms regulating insect development and other biological processes.