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Open Access Research article

The genome- and transcriptome-wide analysis of innate immunity in the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens

Yan-Yuan Bao, Lv-Yu Qu, Dong Zhao, Li-Bo Chen, Hong-Yuan Jin, Liang-Min Xu, Jia-An Cheng and Chuan-Xi Zhang*

Author Affiliations

State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology and Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory of Agricultural Entomology, Institute of Insect Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:160  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-160

Published: 9 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) is one of the most serious rice plant pests in Asia. N. lugens causes extensive rice damage by sucking rice phloem sap, which results in stunted plant growth and the transmission of plant viruses. Despite the importance of this insect pest, little is known about the immunological mechanisms occurring in this hemimetabolous insect species.

Results

In this study, we performed a genome- and transcriptome-wide analysis aiming at the immune-related genes. The transcriptome datasets include the N. lugens intestine, the developmental stage, wing formation, and sex-specific expression information that provided useful gene expression sequence data for the genome-wide analysis. As a result, we identified a large number of genes encoding N. lugens pattern recognition proteins, modulation proteins in the prophenoloxidase (proPO) activating cascade, immune effectors, and the signal transduction molecules involved in the immune pathways, including the Toll, Immune deficiency (Imd) and Janus kinase signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathways. The genome scale analysis revealed detailed information of the gene structure, distribution and transcription orientations in scaffolds. A comparison of the genome-available hemimetabolous and metabolous insect species indicate the differences in the immune-related gene constitution. We investigated the gene expression profiles with regards to how they responded to bacterial infections and tissue, as well as development and sex expression specificity.

Conclusions

The genome- and transcriptome-wide analysis of immune-related genes including pattern recognition and modulation molecules, immune effectors, and the signal transduction molecules involved in the immune pathways is an important step in determining the overall architecture and functional network of the immune components in N. lugens. Our findings provide the comprehensive gene sequence resource and expression profiles of the immune-related genes of N. lugens, which could facilitate the understanding of the innate immune mechanisms in the hemimetabolous insect species. These data give insight into clarifying the potential functional roles of the immune-related genes involved in the biological processes of development, reproduction, and virus transmission in N. lugens.

Keywords:
Nilaparvata lugens; Hemimetabolous insect; Genome; Transcriptome; Innate immunity; Gene expression