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karmoisin and cardinal ortholog genes participate in the ommochrome synthesis of Nilaparvata lugens (Hemiptera: Delphacidae)

Liu, Shu‐Hua, Luo, Ju, Yang, Bao‐Jun, Wang, Ai‐Ying, Tang, Jian
Insect science 2019 v.26 no.1 pp. 35-43
Nilaparvata lugens, RNA interference, color, complementary DNA, compound eyes, double-stranded RNA, genes, insects, messenger RNA, ocelli, peroxidase, phenotype, pigmentation, quantitative polymerase chain reaction
Ommochrome is the major source for eye coloration of all insect species so far examined. Phenoxazinone synthetase (PHS) has always been regarded as the terminal step enzyme for ommochrome formation, which is encoded by cardinal or karmoisin genes. Our previous study indicated that the karmoisin ortholog gene (Nl‐karmoisin) product in the brown planthopper (BPH) was a monocarboxylate transporter, while not a PHS. Here, based on full‐length complementary DNA, the cardinal ortholog gene in BPH (Nl‐cardinal) product was predicted to be a haem peroxidase rather than a PHS. We suggest for the first time that neither karmoisin nor cardinal encodes the PHS, but whether PHS participates in BPH eye pigmentation needs further research. Nymphal RNA interference (RNAi) experiments showed that knockdown Nl‐cardinal transcript led the BPH ocelli and compound eye to color change from brown to red, while knockdown Nl‐karmoisin only made the ocelli present the red phenotype. Notably, not only the Nl‐cardinal transcript, dscd injection (Nl‐cardinal targeting double‐stranded DNA (dsRNA)) also significantly reduced the Nl‐karmoisin transcript by 33.7%, while dska (Nl‐karmoisin targeting dsRNA) injection did not significantly change the Nl‐cardinal transcript. Considering the above RNAi and quantitative real‐time polymerase chain reaction results, we propose that Nl‐cardinal plays a more important role in ommochrome synthesis than Nl‐karmoisin, and it may be an upstream gene of Nl‐karmoisin. The present study suggested that both karmoisin and cardinal ortholog genes play a role in ommochrome synthesis in a hemimetabolous insect.