3 years ago

RNAi-mediated knockdown of SPOOK reduces ecdysteroid titers and causes precocious metamorphosis in the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria

The Halloween gene SPOOK (SPO) is involved in the production of the active metabolite of ecdysteroid, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), in insects. A previous study showed that RNAi-mediated knockdown of SPO in Schistocerca gregaria last instar nymphs markedly reduced the hemolymph 20E titer, but did not affect metamorphosis. In the present study, the effects of SPO interference on development were re-examined in this locust. Injections of SPO double-stranded RNA (dsSPO) into nymphs at mid and late instars significantly delayed nymphal development and interfered with molting. The 20E levels of dsSPO-treated nymphs were generally low, with a delayed, small peak, suggesting that disturbance of the 20E levels caused the above developmental abnormalities. A small proportion of the dsSPO-injected nymphs metamorphosed precociously, producing adults and adultoids. Precocious adults were characterized by small body size, short wings with abbreviated venation, and normal reproductive activity. Fourth instar nymphs that precociously metamorphosed at the following instar exhibited temporal expression patterns of ecdysone-induced protein 93F and the juvenile hormone (JH) early-inducible gene Krüppel homolog 1 similar to those observed at the last instar in normal nymphs. Adultoids displayed mating behavior and adultoid females developed eggs, but never laid eggs. JH injection around the expected time of the 20E peak in the dsSPO-injected nymphs completely inhibited the appearance of adultoids, suggesting that appearance of adultoids might be due to a reduced titer of JH rather than of 20E. These results suggest that SPO plays an important role in controlling morphogenesis, metamorphosis, and reproduction in S. gregaria.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0012160617301707

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