Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The lack of an understanding about the genomic architecture underpinning parental behaviour in subsocial insects displaying simple parental behaviours prevents the development of a full understanding about the evolutionary origin of sociality. Lethrus apterus is one of the few insect species that has biparental care. Division of labour can be observed between parents during the reproductive period in order to provide food and protection for their offspring.<h4>Results</h4>Here, we report the draft genome of L. apterus, the first genome in the family Geotrupidae. The final assembly consisted of 286.93 Mbp in 66,933 scaffolds. Completeness analysis found the assembly contained 93.5% of the Endopterygota core BUSCO gene set. Ab initio gene prediction resulted in 25,385 coding genes, whereas homology-based analyses predicted 22,551 protein coding genes. After merging, 20,734 were found during functional annotation. Compared to other publicly available beetle genomes, 23,528 genes among the predicted genes were assigned to orthogroups of which 1664 were in species-specific groups. Additionally, reproduction related genes were found among the predicted genes based on which a reduction in the number of odorant- and pheromone-binding proteins was detected.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These genes can be used in further comparative and functional genomic researches which can advance our understanding of the genetic basis and hence the evolution of parental behaviour.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The Pyrrhocoris apterus (Insecta: Heteroptera) adults attain high levels of cold tolerance during their overwintering diapause. Non-diapause reproducing adults, however, lack the capacity to express a whole array of cold-tolerance adaptations and show relatively low survival when exposed to sub-zero temperatures. We assessed the competence of non-diapause males of P. apterus for responding to heat- and cold-stresses by up-regulation of 70 kDa heat shock proteins (Hsps) and the role of Hsps during repair of heat- and cold-induced injury. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The fragments of P. apterus homologues of Hsp70 inducible (PaHsp70) and cognate forms (PaHsc70) were cloned and sequenced. The abundance of mRNA transcripts for the inducible form (qPCR) and corresponding protein (Western blotting) were significantly up-regulated in response to high and low temperature stimuli. In the cognate form, mRNA was slightly up-regulated in response to both stressors but very low or no up-regulation of protein was apparent after heat- or cold-stress, respectively. Injection of 695 bp-long Pahsp70 dsRNA (RNAi) caused drastic suppression of the heat- and cold-stress-induced Pahsp70 mRNA response and the up-regulation of corresponding protein was practically eliminated. Our RNAi predictably prevented recovery from heat shock and, in addition, negatively influenced repair of chilling injuries caused by cold stress. Cold tolerance increased when the insects were first exposed to a mild heat shock, in order to trigger the up-regulation of PaHsp70, and subsequently exposed to cold stress. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that accumulation of PaHsp70 belongs to a complex cold tolerance adaptation in the insect Pyrrhocoris apterus.
Project description:Circadian clocks are synchronized with the external environment by light and temperature. The effect of these cues on behavior is well-characterized in Drosophila, however, little is known about synchronization in non-model insect species. Therefore, we explored entrainment of locomotor activity by light and temperature in the linden bug Pyrrhocoris apterus (Heteroptera), an insect species with a strong seasonal response (reproductive diapause), which is triggered by both photoperiod and thermoperiod. Our results show that either light or temperature cycles are strong factors entraining P. apterus locomotor activity. Pyrrhocoris is able to be partially synchronized by cycles with temperature amplitude as small as 3°C and more than 50% of bugs is synchronized by 5°C steps. If conflicting zeitgebers are provided, light is the stronger signal. Linden bugs lack light-sensitive (Drosophila-like) cryptochrome. Notably, a high percentage of bugs is rhythmic even in constant light (LL) at intensity ?400 lux, a condition which induces 100% arrhythmicity in Drosophila. However, the rhythmicity of bugs is still reduced in LL conditions, whereas rhythmicity remains unaffected in constant dark (DD). Interestingly, a similar phenomenon is observed after temperature cycles entrainment. Bugs released to constant thermophase and DD display weak rhythmicity, whereas strong rhythmicity is observed in bugs released to constant cryophase and DD. Our study describes the daily and circadian behavior of the linden bug as a response to photoperiodic and thermoperiodic entraining cues. Although the molecular mechanism of the circadian clock entrainment in the linden bug is virtually unknown, our study contributes to the knowledge of the insect circadian clock features beyond Drosophila research.
Project description:Hormones play an important role in the regulation of physiological, developmental and behavioural processes. Many of these mechanisms in insects, however, are still not well understood. One way to investigate hormonal regulation is to analyse gene expression patterns of hormones and their receptors by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). This method, however, requires stably expressed reference genes for normalisation. In the present study, we evaluated 11 candidate housekeeping genes as reference genes in samples of Lethrus apterus, an earth-boring beetle with biparental care, collected from a natural population. For identifying the most stable genes we used the following computational methods: geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, comparative delta Ct method and RefFinder. Based on our results, the two body regions sampled (head and thorax) differ in which genes are most stably expressed. We identified two candidate reference genes for each region investigated: ribosomal protein L7A and RP18 in samples extracted from the head, and ribosomal protein L7A and RP4 extracted from the muscles of the thorax. Additionally, L7A and RP18 appear to be the best reference genes for normalisation in all samples irrespective of body region. These reference genes can be used to study the hormonal regulation of reproduction and parental care in Lethrus apterus in the future.
Project description:Coriobacterium glomerans Haas and König 1988, is the only species of the genus Coriobacterium, family Coriobacteriaceae, order Coriobacteriales, phylum Actinobacteria. The bacterium thrives as an endosymbiont of pyrrhocorid bugs, i.e. the red fire bug Pyrrhocoris apterus L. The rationale for sequencing the genome of strain PW2(T) is its endosymbiotic life style which is rare among members of Actinobacteria. Here we describe the features of this symbiont, together with the complete genome sequence and its annotation. This is the first complete genome sequence of a member of the genus Coriobacterium and the sixth member of the order Coriobacteriales for which complete genome sequences are now available. The 2,115,681 bp long single replicon genome with its 1,804 protein-coding and 54 RNA genes is part of the G enomic E ncyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.
Project description:Insects belonging to the recent orders of the endopterygote clade (Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Coleoptera) respond to bacterial challenge by the rapid and transient synthesis of a battery of potent antibacterial peptides which are secreted into their haemolymph. Here we present the first report on inducible antibacterial molecules in the sap-sucking bug Pyrrhocoris apterus, a representative species of the Hemiptera, which predated the Endoptergotes by at least 50 million years in evolution. We have isolated and characterized from immune blood of this species three novel peptides or polypeptides: (i) a 43-residue cysteine-rich anti-(Gram-positive bacteria) peptide which is a new member of the family of insect defensins; (ii) a 20-residue proline-rich peptide carrying an O-glycosylated substitution (N-acetylgalactosamine), active against Gram-negative bacteria; (iii) a 133-residue glycine-rich polypeptide also active against Gram-negative bacteria. The proline-rich peptide shows high sequence similarities with drosocin, an O-glycosylated antibacterial peptide from Drosophila, and also with the N-terminal domain of diptericin, an inducible 9 kDa antibacterial peptide from members of the order Diptera, whereas the glycine-rich peptide has similarities with the glycine-rich domain of diptericin. We discuss the evolutionary aspects of these findings.
Project description:The CRISPR/Cas9 technique is widely used in experimentation with human cell lines as well as with other model systems, such as mice <i>Mus musculus</i>, zebrafish <i>Danio reiro</i>, and the fruit fly <i>Drosophila melanogaster</i>. However, publications describing the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for genome editing in non-model organisms, including non-model insects, are scarce. The introduction of this relatively new method presents many problems even for experienced researchers, especially with the lack of procedures to tackle issues concerning the efficiency of mutant generation. Here we present a protocol for efficient genome editing in the non-model insect species <i>Pyrrhocoris apterus</i>. We collected data from several independent trials that targeted several genes using the CRISPR/Cas9 system and determined that several crucial optimization steps led to a remarkably increased efficiency of mutant production. The main steps are as follows: the timing of embryo injection, the use of the heteroduplex mobility assay as a screening method, <i>in vivo</i> testing of sgRNA efficiency, and G<sub>0</sub> germline mosaicism screening. The timing and the method of egg injections used here need to be optimized for other species, but other here-described optimization solutions can be applied immediately for genome editing in other insect species.