Deep sequencing reveals complex mechanisms of diapause preparation in the invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus

Proc Biol Sci. 2013 Mar 20;280(1759):20130143. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0143. Print 2013 May 22.


Seasonal environments present fundamental physiological challenges to a wide range of insects. Many temperate insects surmount the exigencies of winter by undergoing photoperiodic diapause, in which photoperiod provides a token cue that initiates an alternative developmental programme leading to dormancy. Pre-diapause is a crucial preparatory phase of this process, preceding developmental arrest. However, the regulatory and physiological mechanisms of diapause preparation are largely unknown. Using high-throughput gene expression profiling in the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, we reveal major shifts in endocrine signalling, cell proliferation, metabolism, energy production and cellular structure across pre-diapause development. While some hallmarks of diapause, such as insulin signalling and stress response, were not important at the transcriptional level, two genes, Pepck and PCNA, appear to show diapause-induced transcriptional changes across insect taxa. These processes demonstrate physiological commonalities between Ae. albopictus pre-diapause and diapause strategies across insects, and support the idea of a genetic 'toolkit' for diapause. Observations of gene expression trends from a comparative developmental perspective suggest that individual physiological processes are delayed against a background of a fixed morphological ontogeny. Our results demonstrate how deep sequencing can provide new insights into elusive molecular bases of complex ecological adaptations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Aedes / genetics
  • Aedes / growth & development
  • Aedes / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Photoperiod
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pupa / genetics
  • Pupa / growth & development
  • Pupa / physiology
  • Seasons
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome*