Discovery and characterization of olfactory-related genes in the wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus, a major pest of wheat in the northern plains
Gress, Joanna Christine
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The wheat stem sawfly (WSS), Cephus cinctus (Hymenoptera: Cephidae), is one of the most important insect pests of wheat in the northern Great Plains region of the United States and Canada, with economic losses exceeding $100 million per year. Traditional pest management strategies including pesticides are generally unsuccessful due to an extended adult flight time and the inaccessible larval stage that feeds within the wheat stem. Research towards integrated pest management strategies based on olfaction has proved promising. However, little is known about the molecular basis of olfaction in this important insect pest. We have identified and annotated 131 members of the major olfactory-related gene families from antennal transcriptome and whole genome sequences, including: 6 odorant binding proteins (OBP), 8 chemosensory proteins (CSP), 53 odorant receptors (OR), 14 ionotropic receptors (IR), 12 carboxylesterases (CCE), 8 gluthatione S-transferases (GST), and 29 cytochrome P450s (P450). Expression levels in the antennae, sawfly bodies, and whole larvae were analyzed using RNA-seq. Gene expression results were used to identify candidate genes for further functional characterization based on higher enriched expression in antennae and/or sex-biased expression in the antennae. These candidate WSS olfactory genes may mediate important pest behaviors and serve as molecular targets for future insect management strategies.