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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Identification of gene expression changes associated with the initiation of diapause in the brain of the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera

Bin Bao and Wei-Hua Xu*

Author affiliations

State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University, Guangzhou 510275, China

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2011, 12:224  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-224

Published: 11 May 2011



Diapause, a state of arrested development accompanied by a marked decrease of metabolic rate, helps insects to overcome unfavorable seasons. Helicoverpa armigera (Har) undergoes pupal diapause, but the molecular mechanism of diapause initiation is unclear. Using suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH), we investigated differentially expressed genes in diapause- and nondiapause-destined pupal brains at diapause initiation.


We constructed two SSH libraries (forward, F and reverse, R) to isolate genes that are up-regulated or down-regulated at diapause initiation. We obtained 194 unique sequences in the F library and 115 unique sequences in the R library. Further, genes expression at the mRNA and protein level in diapause- and nondiapause-destined pupal brains were confirmed by RT-PCR, Northern blot or Western blot analysis. Finally, we classified the genes and predicted their possible roles at diapause initiation.


Differentially expressed genes at pupal diapause initiation are possibly involved in the regulation of metabolism, energy, stress resistance, signaling pathways, cell cycle, transcription and translation.