MiR-147b-modulated expression of vestigial regulates wing development in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Most aphids exhibit wing polyphenism in which wingless and winged morphs produce depending on the population density and host plant quality. Although the influence of environmental factors on wing polyphenism of aphids have been extensively investigated, molecular mechanisms underlining morph differentiation (i.e. wing development /degeneration), one downstream aspect of the wing polyphenism, has been poorly understood. RESULTS:We examined the expression levels of the twenty genes involved in wing development network, and only vestigial (vg) showed significantly different expression levels in both whole-body and wall-body of third instar nymphs, with 5.4- and 16.14- fold higher expression in winged lines compared to wingless lines, respectively in Rhopalosiphum padi. vg expression was higher in winged lines compared to wingless lines in third, fourth instar nymphs and adults. Larger difference expression was observed in third (21.38-fold) and fourth (20.91-fold) instar nymphs relative to adults (3.12-fold). Suppression of vg using RNAi repressed the wing development of third winged morphs. Furthermore, dual luciferase reporter assay revealed that the miR-147 can target the vg mRNA. Modulation of miR-147b levels by microinjection of its agomir (mimic) decreased vg expression levels and repressed wing development. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that vg is essential for wing development in R. padi and that miR-147b modulates its expression.