The high osmotic pressure generated by sugars in plant phloem sap is reduced in phloem-feeding aphids by sugar transformations and facilitated water flux in the gut. The genes mediating these osmoregulatory functions have been identified and validated empirically in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum: sucrase 1 (SUC1), a sucrase in glycoside hydrolase family 13 (GH13), and aquaporin 1 (AQP1), a member of the Drosophila integral protein (DRIP) family of aquaporins. Here, we describe molecular analysis of GH13 and AQP genes in phloem-feeding representatives of the four phloem-feeding groups: aphids (Myzus persicae), coccids (Planococcus citri), psyllids (Diaphorina citri, Bactericera cockerelli) and whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci MEAM1 and MED). A single candidate GH13-SUC gene and DRIP-AQP gene were identified in the genome/transcriptome of most insects tested by the criteria of sequence motif and gene expression in the gut. Exceptionally, the psyllid Ba. cockerelli transcriptome included a gut-expressed Pyrocoelia rufa integral protein (PRIP)-AQP, but has no DRIP-AQP transcripts, suggesting that PRIP-AQP is recruited for osmoregulatory function in this insect. This study indicates that phylogenetically related SUC and AQP genes may generally mediate osmoregulatory functions in these diverse phloem-feeding insects, and provides candidate genes for empirical validation and development as targets for osmotic disruption of pest species.
Keywords: aphid; aquaporin; osmoregulation; psyllid; sucrase; whitefly; α-glucohydrolase.
© 2016 The Authors. Insect Molecular Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Royal Entomological Society.