Crop Biotech Update

Trehalase Genes Regulate Expression of the Chitin Synthesis in Red Flour Beetle

September 14, 2016

RNA interference is an effective approach for gene function studies and could be used for controlling pests. Trehalase is a key gene in chitin synthesis in insects. Hangzhou Normal University researchers led by Bin Tang, studied five trehalase genes (TcTre1-1, TcTre1-2, TcTre1-3, TcTre1-4 and TcTre2) from the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) using RNAi, regardless if the functions of these trehalases can be used for pest control.

Results showed that the expression of other genes related to chitin synthesis decreased significantly when the expression of the TcTre2 gene was suppressed. The results also revealed different abnormal phenotypes and the observed mortality rates ranging from 17 to 42% after suppression of any of the five trehalase genes. These indicate that silencing any trehalase gene, especially TcTre2 gene, can lead to moulting deformities and high mortality by regulating gene expression in the chitin synthesis.

For more information, read the full article in BMC Biotechnology.