1. Department of Entomology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.
2. Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0091, USA.
* These authors contributed equally to this research.
While trade-offs between flight capability and reproduction is a common phenomenon in wing dimorphic insects, the molecular basis is largely unknown. In this study, we examined the transcriptomic differences between winged and wingless morphs of cotton aphids, Aphis gossypii, using a tag-based digital gene expression (DGE) approach. Ultra high-throughput Illumina sequencing generated 5.30 and 5.39 million raw tags, respectively, from winged and wingless A. gossypii DGE libraries. We identified 1,663 differentially expressed transcripts, among which 58 were highly expressed in the winged A. gossypii, whereas 1,605 expressed significantly higher in the wingless morphs. Bioinformatics tools, including Gene Ontology, Cluster of Orthologous Groups, euKaryotic Orthologous Groups and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways, were used to functionally annotate these transcripts. In addition, 20 differentially expressed transcripts detected by DGE were validated by the quantitative real-time PCR. Comparative transcriptomic analysis of sedentary (wingless) and migratory (winged) A. gossyii not only advances our understanding of the trade-offs in wing dimorphic insects, but also provides a candidate molecular target for the genetic control of this agricultural insect pest.
Keywords: Aphis gossypii, trade-off, migration, digital gene expression, wing polyphenism.