Gene selection for studying frugivore-plant interactions: a review and an example using Queensland fruit fly in tomato.
ABSTRACT: Fruit production is negatively affected by a wide range of frugivorous insects, among them tephritid fruit flies are one of the most important. As a replacement for pesticide-based controls, enhancing natural fruit resistance through biotechnology approaches is a poorly researched but promising alternative. The use of quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) is an approach to studying gene expression which has been widely used in studying plant resistance to pathogens and non-frugivorous insect herbivores, and offers a starting point for fruit fly studies. In this paper, we develop a gene selection pipe-line for known induced-defense genes in tomato fruit, Solanum lycopersicum, and putative detoxification genes in Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni, as a basis for future RT-qPCR research. The pipeline started with a literature review on plant/herbivore and plant/pathogen molecular interactions. With respect to the fly, this was then followed by the identification of gene families known to be associated with insect resistance to toxins, and then individual genes through reference to annotated B. tryoni transcriptomes and gene identity matching with related species. In contrast for tomato, a much better studied species, individual defense genes could be identified directly through literature research. For B. tryoni, gene selection was then further refined through gene expression studies. Ultimately 28 putative detoxification genes from cytochrome P450 (P450), carboxylesterase (CarE), glutathione S-transferases (GST), and ATP binding cassette transporters (ABC) gene families were identified for B. tryoni, and 15 induced defense genes from receptor-like kinase (RLK), D-mannose/L-galactose, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), lipoxygenase (LOX), gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) pathways and polyphenol oxidase (PPO), proteinase inhibitors (PI) and resistance (R) gene families were identified from tomato fruit. The developed gene selection process for B. tryoni can be applied to other herbivorous and frugivorous insect pests so long as the minimum necessary genomic information, an annotated transcriptome, is available.
Project description:Computational modelling of mechanisms underlying processes in the real world can be of great value in understanding complex biological behaviours. Uptake in general biology and ecology has been rapid. However, it often requires specific data sets that are overly costly in time and resources to collect. The aim of the current study was to test whether a generic behavioural ecology model constructed using published data could give realistic outputs for individual species. An individual-based model was developed using the Pattern-Oriented Modelling (POM) strategy and protocol, based on behavioural rules associated with insect movement choices. Frugivorous Tephritidae (fruit flies) were chosen because of economic significance in global agriculture and the multiple published data sets available for a range of species. The Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), Bactrocera tryoni, was identified as a suitable individual species for testing. Plant canopies with modified architecture were used to run predictive simulations. A field study was then conducted to validate our model predictions on how plant architecture affects fruit flies' behaviours. Characteristics of plant architecture such as different shapes, e.g., closed-canopy and vase-shaped, affected fly movement patterns and time spent on host fruit. The number of visits to host fruit also differed between the edge and centre in closed-canopy plants. Compared to plant architecture, host fruit has less contribution to effects on flies' movement patterns. The results from this model, combined with our field study and published empirical data suggest that placing fly traps in the upper canopy at the edge should work best. Such a modelling approach allows rapid testing of ideas about organismal interactions with environmental substrates in silico rather than in vivo, to generate new perspectives. Using published data provides a saving in time and resources. Adjustments for specific questions can be achieved by refinement of parameters based on targeted experiments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Gut microbiota affects tephritid (Diptera: Tephritidae) fruit fly development, physiology, behavior, and thus the quality of flies mass-reared for the sterile insect technique (SIT), a target-specific, sustainable, environmentally benign form of pest management. The Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Tephritidae), is a significant horticultural pest in Australia and can be managed with SIT. Little is known about the impacts that laboratory-adaptation (domestication) and mass-rearing have on the tephritid larval gut microbiome. Read lengths of previous fruit fly next-generation sequencing (NGS) studies have limited the resolution of microbiome studies, and the diversity within populations is often overlooked. In this study, we used a new near full-length (>?1300 nt) 16S rRNA gene amplicon NGS approach to characterize gut bacterial communities of individual B. tryoni larvae from two field populations (developing in peaches) and three domesticated populations (mass- or laboratory-reared on artificial diets). RESULTS:Near full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained for 56 B. tryoni larvae. OTU clustering at 99% similarity revealed that gut bacterial diversity was low and significantly lower in domesticated larvae. Bacteria commonly associated with fruit (Acetobacteraceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and Leuconostocaceae) were detected in wild larvae, but were largely absent from domesticated larvae. However, Asaia, an acetic acid bacterium not frequently detected within adult tephritid species, was detected in larvae of both wild and domesticated populations (55 out of 56 larval gut samples). Larvae from the same single peach shared a similar gut bacterial profile, whereas larvae from different peaches collected from the same tree had different gut bacterial profiles. Clustering of the Asaia near full-length sequences at 100% similarity showed that the wild flies from different locations had different Asaia strains. CONCLUSIONS:Variation in the gut bacterial communities of B. tryoni larvae depends on diet, domestication, and horizontal acquisition. Bacterial variation in wild larvae suggests that more than one bacterial species can perform the same functional role; however, Asaia could be an important gut bacterium in larvae and warrants further study. A greater understanding of the functions of the bacteria detected in larvae could lead to increased fly quality and performance as part of the SIT.
Project description:Sterile male Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt), fed as immature adults on the plant compound raspberry ketone (RK), show a reduced attraction to cuelure, a synthetic analogue of RK used as an attractant in Male Annihilation Technique. We hypothesized the reduced attraction of RK-fed adult males to cuelure may be a consequence of altered expression of chemoreception genes. A Y-tube olfactometer assay with RK-fed and RK-unfed sterile B. tryoni males tested the subsequent behavioural response to cuelure. Behavioral assays confirmed a significant decrease in attraction of RK-fed sterile males to cuelure. RK-fed, non-responders (to cue-lure) and RK-unfed, responders (to cue-lure) males were sampled and gene expression compared by de novo RNA-seq analysis. A total of 269 genes in fly heads were differentially expressed between replicated groups of RK-fed, cuelure non-responders and RK-unfed, cuelure responders. Among them, 218 genes including 4 chemoreceptor genes were up regulated and 51 genes were down regulated in RK-fed, cuelure non-responders. De novo assembly generated many genes with unknown functions and no significant BLAST hits to homologues in other species. The enriched and suppressed genes reported here, shed light on the transcriptional changes that affect the dynamics of insect responses to chemical stimuli.
Project description:The Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni, is Australia's most important horticultural pest. The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) has been used to control this species for decades, using radiation to sterilize males before field-release. This method of sterilization can potentially reduce the insects' abilities to compete for mates. In this study, RNA interference (RNAi) techniques were examined for their potential to sterilize male B. tryoni without adversely affecting mating competitiveness. B. tryoni adults were injected or fed double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) targeting spermatogenesis genes (tssk1, topi and trxt); quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR analyses confirmed that transcript levels were reduced 60?80% for all three genes following injections. Feeding produced a significant gene knockdown for tssk1 and trxt after three days, but interestingly, two genes (trxt and topi) produced an excess of transcripts after 10 days of feeding. Despite these fluctuations in transcript levels, all three dsRNAs impacted the fecundity of treated males, with tssk1- and topi-dsRNA-treated males producing 75% fewer viable offspring than the negative controls. Mating competition assays demonstrated that dsRNA-treated males can actively compete with untreated males. These findings suggest that RNAi technology could serve as an alternative to radiation as a means of sterilizing these insects in an SIT program.
Project description:Insects typically host substantial microbial communities (the 'microbiome') that can serve as a vital source of nutrients and also acts as a modulator of immune function. While recent studies have shown that diet is an important influence on the gut microbiome, very little is known about the dynamics underpinning microbial acquisition from natural food sources. Here, we addressed this gap by comparing the microbiome of larvae of the polyphagous fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni ('Queensland fruit fly') that were collected from five different fruit types (sapodilla [from two different localities], hog plum, pomegranate, green apple, and quince) from North-east to South-east Australia. Using Next-Generation Sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform, we addressed two questions: (1) what bacterial communities are available to B. tryoni larvae from different host fruit; and (2) how does the microbiome vary between B. tryoni larvae and its host fruit? The abundant bacterial taxa were similar for B. tryoni larvae from different fruit despite significant differences in the overall microbial community compositions. Our study suggests that the bacterial community structure of B. tryoni larvae is related less to the host fruit (diet) microbiome and more to vertical transfer of the microbiome during egg laying. Our findings also suggest that geographic location may play a quite limited role in structuring of larval microbiomes. This is the first study to use Next-Generation Sequencing to analyze the microbiome of B. tryoni larvae together with the host fruit, an approach that has enabled greatly increased resolution of relationships between the insect's microbiome and that of the surrounding host tissues.
Project description:Mass releases of sterilized male insects, in the frame of sterile insect technique programs, have helped suppress insect pest populations since the 1950s. In the major horticultural pests Bactrocera dorsalis, Ceratitis capitata, and Zeugodacus cucurbitae, a key phenotype white pupae (wp) has been used for decades to selectively remove females before releases, yet the gene responsible remained unknown. Here, we use classical and modern genetic approaches to identify and functionally characterize causal wp<sup>-</sup> mutations in these distantly related fruit fly species. We find that the wp phenotype is produced by parallel mutations in a single, conserved gene. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of the wp gene leads to the rapid generation of white pupae strains in C. capitata and B. tryoni. The conserved phenotype and independent nature of wp<sup>-</sup> mutations suggest this technique can provide a generic approach to produce sexing strains in other major medical and agricultural insect pests.
Project description:Understanding the relationship between incursions of insect pests and established populations is critical to implementing effective control. Studies of genetic variation can provide powerful tools to examine potential invasion pathways and longevity of individual pest outbreaks. The major fruit fly pest in eastern Australia, Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt), has been subject to significant long-term quarantine and population reduction control measures in the major horticulture production areas of southeastern Australia, at the species southern range limit. Previous studies have employed microsatellite markers to estimate gene flow between populations across this region. In this study, we used an independent genetic marker, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences, to screen genetic variation in established and adjacent outbreak populations in southeastern Australia. During the study period, favorable environmental conditions resulted in multiple outbreaks, which appeared genetically distinctive and relatively geographically localized, implying minimal dispersal between simultaneous outbreaks. Populations in established regions were found to occur over much larger areas. Screening mtDNA (female) lineages proved to be an effective alternative genetic tool to assist in understanding fruit fly population dynamics and provide another possible molecular method that could now be employed for better understanding of the ecology and evolution of this and other pest species.
Project description:In holometabolous insects, adult fitness depends on the quantity and quality of resource acquired at the larval stage. Diverse ecological factors can influence larval resource acquisition, but little is known about how these factors in the larval environment interact to modulate larval development and adult traits.Here, we addressed this gap by considering how key ecological factors of larval density, diet nutritional composition, and microbial growth interact to modulate pupal and adult traits in a polyphagous tephritid fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (aka "Queensland fruit fly").Larvae were allowed to develop at two larval densities (low and high), on diets that were protein-rich, standard, or sugar-rich and prepared with or without preservatives to inhibit or encourage microbial growth, respectively.Percentage of adult emergence and adult sex ratio were not affected by the interaction between diet composition, larval density, and preservative treatments, although low preservative content increased adult emergence in sugar-rich diets but decreased adult emergence in protein-rich and standard diets.Pupal weight, male and female adult dry weight, and female (but not male) body energetic reserves were affected by a strong three-way interaction between diet composition, larval density, and preservative treatment, whereby in general, low preservative content increased pupal weight and female lipid storage in sugar-rich diets particularly at low-larval density and differentially modulated the decrease in adult body weight caused by larval density across diets.Our findings provide insights into the ecological factors modulating larval development of a polyphagous fly species and shed light into the ecological complexity of the larval developmental environment in frugivorous insects.
Project description:Diverse methods have been used to sample insect semiochemicals. Sampling methods can differ in efficiency and affinity and this can introduce significant biases when interpreting biological patterns. We compare common methods used to sample tephritid fruit fly rectal gland volatiles ('pheromones'), focusing on Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni. Solvents of different polarity, n-hexane, dichloromethane and ethanol, were compared using intact and crushed glands. Polydimethylsiloxane, polydimethylsiloxane/divinylbenzene and polyacrylate were compared as adsorbents for solid phase microextraction. Tenax-GR and Porapak Q were compared as adsorbents for dynamic headspace sampling. Along with compounds previously reported for B. tryoni, we detected five previously unreported compounds in males, and three in females. Dichloromethane extracted more amides while there was no significant difference between the three solvents in extraction of spiroacetals except for (E,E)-2,8-dimethyl-1,7-dioxaspiro[5.5]undecane for which n-hexane extracted higher amount than both dichloromethane and ethanol. Ethanol failed to contain many of the more volatile compounds. Crushed rectal gland samples provided higher concentrations of extracted compounds than intact rectal gland samples, but no compounds were missed in intact samples. Of solid phase microextraction fibers, polyacrylate had low affinity for spiroacetals, ethyl isobutyrate and ethyl-2-methylbutanoate. Polydimethylsiloxane was more efficient for spiroacetals while type of fiber did not affect the amounts of amides and esters. In dynamic headspace sampling, Porapak was more efficient for ethyl isobutyrate and spiroacetals, while Tenax was more efficient for other esters and amides, and sampling time was a critical factor. Biases that can be introduced by sampling methods are important considerations when collecting and interpreting insect semiochemical profiles.
Project description:Females of many insect species are unreceptive to remating for a period following their first mating. This inhibitory effect may be mediated by either the female or her first mate, or both, and often reflects the complex interplay of reproductive strategies between the sexes. Natural variation in remating inhibition and how this phenotype responds to captive breeding are largely unexplored in insects, including many pest species. We investigated genetic variation in remating propensity in the Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni, using strains differing in source locality and degree of domestication. We found up to threefold inherited variation between strains from different localities in the level of intra-strain remating inhibition. The level of inhibition also declined significantly during domestication, which implied the existence of genetic variation for this trait within the starting populations as well. Inter-strain mating and remating trials showed that the strain differences were mainly due to the genotypes of the female and, to a lesser extent, the second male, with little effect of the initial male genotype. Implications for our understanding of fruit fly reproductive biology and population genetics and the design of Sterile Insect Technique pest management programs are discussed.