Evaluation of suitable reference genes for quantitative RT-PCR during development and abiotic stress in Panonychus citri (McGregor) (Acari: Tetranychidae)

Mol Biol Rep. 2012 May;39(5):5841-9. doi: 10.1007/s11033-011-1394-x. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Quantitative real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is preferred for gene expression analysis in living organisms. Currently, it is a valuable tool for biological and ecological studies as it provides a relatively straightforward way to assess the relevance of transcriptional regulation under developmental and stress tolerance conditions. However, studies have shown that some commonly used reference genes varied among different experimental treatments, thus, systematic evaluation of reference genes is critical for gene expression profiling, which is often neglected in gene expression studies of arthropods. The aim of this study is to identify the suitable reference genes for RT-qPCR experiments involving various developmental stages and/or under abiotic stresses in citrus red mite Panonychus citri, a key pest in citrus orchards worldwide. GeNorm, NormFinder, and Bestkeeper software analysis indicates that elongation factor-1 alpha (ELF1A), RNA polymerase II largest subunit, alpha tublin, and glyceraldhyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) are the most stable reference genes in various developmental stages, meanwhile, ELF1A and GAPDH were the most stable reference genes under various abiotic stresses. Furthermore, this study will serve as a resource to screen reference genes for gene expression studies in any other spider mite species.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Primers / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes / genetics*
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / standards
  • Reference Standards
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / standards*
  • Software
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics*
  • Tetranychidae / genetics*
  • Tetranychidae / growth & development*


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA