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Host-plant induced changes in microbial community structure and midgut gene expression in an invasive polyphage (Anoplophora glabripennis)

Erin D. Scully, Scott M. Geib, Charles J. Mason, John E. Carlson, Ming Tien, Han-Yi Chen, Scott Harding, Chung-Jui Tsai, Kelli Hoover
Scientific reports 2018 v.8 no.9620 pp. 1-16
Acer, Anoplophora glabripennis, Populus nigra, Populus tomentosa, bacterial communities, beta-glucosidase, broadleaved trees, community structure, digestion, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genome, host plants, insect cuticle, intestinal microorganisms, metabolic detoxification, midgut, plant-insect relations, species richness, symbionts, transcriptome, tremulacin
Polyphagous insect herbivores have multiple mechanisms in place to overcome the dietary challenges of feeding in multiple plant species including, but not limited to, transcriptional plasticity and associations with obligate or facultative symbionts. The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a polyphagous wood-feeder capable of developing on over 100 broadleaf tree species and, like other polyphages, its genome contains amplifications of digestive and detoxification genes. Its gut microbial community also has the metabolic potential to augment this insect’s detoxification and digestive capabilities. While the genomic repertoires of A. glabripennis and its microbial community have been studied previously, comparatively less is known about how the gut transcriptome and gut community changes in response to feeding in different hosts. In this study, we show that feeding in two suitable hosts (Acer spp. and Populus nigra) alters the expression levels of multicopy genes linked to digestion and detoxification; however, feeding in a resistant host (Populus tomentosa) induces changes in the transcriptome and gut community beyond what was observed in insects reared in P. nigra, including the downregulation of numerous β-glucosidases, the upregulation of several cuticular genes, and the reduction of bacterial community richness by 50%. These changes may be linked to the higher constitutive levels of salicin and tremulacin produced by P. tomentosa.