Main content area

Phenoloxidases are required for the pea aphid's defence against bacterial and fungal infection

Xu, L., Ma, L., Wang, W., Li, L., Lu, Z.
Insect molecular biology 2019 v.28 no.2 pp. 176-186
Acyrthosiphon pisum, bacteria, enzyme activity, fungal spores, fungi, gene targeting, genes, immune system, insect immunity, insects, monophenol monooxygenase, mortality, prophenoloxidase, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, tissues
The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, has an incomplete immune system compared to those of other insect species; some conserved components and pathways in other species are missing in its genome. As a core component of the insect immune system, prophenoloxidase (PPO) genes are retained in the pea aphid. Early studies have also shown the presence of phenoloxidase activity in specific tissues or cells in the pea aphid and suggested its involvement in response to immune challenges. In this study, we knocked down the expression of PPO genes in the pea aphid using double‐stranded RNA‐based interference, and quantitative PCR analysis and an enzyme activity assay confirmed our success in the PPO gene knockdown. In bacterial and fungal infection experiments, we observed that the knockdown of PPO resulted in more live bacterial cells and fungal spores in the body of the aphids and higher mortality of the aphids after infection. Our study provides evidence supporting a critical role of PPO in the defence of the pea aphid.