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Investigation of the role of insulin receptor genes in wing polyphenism using gene knockdown and differential gene expression analysis in the non-model organism Gerris buenoi
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics. (Husby Lab)
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Wing polyphenism is a type of phenotypic plasticity present in several insect species whereby a genotype have the ability to develop alternative wing morphs when exposed to different environmental cues. One organism demonstrating a clear case of wing polyphenism is the water strider species, Gerris buenoi, which develop long- or short wings depending on exposure to different photoperiods (the time the organism is exposed to light during a 24 h period). The molecular mechanism behind wing polyphenism in insects in general, and in water striders in particular, is largely unknown. From a study on wing polyphenism in the Brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens), some candidate genes have been identified and include two insulin receptor genes and the Forkhead transcription factor (FOXO). Since these genes have been demonstrated to affect wing polyphenism in Brown planthopper (BPH) and since G. buenoi contains an additional insulin receptor homolog, the potential role of these genes in regulating wing polyphenism in G. buenoi have in this project been investigated. The functional genetic technique RNA interference (RNAi) was used to evaluate the function of the genes. This method knock down gene expression in the genes mentioned above, one at a time, to investigate if they have a function in wing polyphenism in G. buenoi. DsRNA with specific homology to each target gene was successfully produced. However, when attempting to inject the dsRNA through micro injection all injected liquid leaked out from the body cavity, and the RNAi was therefore not successful. Further optimisation of the injection protocol has to be done to be able to perform RNAi properly in the future. Thereafter, RT-qPCR was used to evaluate whether the insulin receptor genes and FOXO are differentially expressed between the two photoperiods giving rise to the different wing morphs. The differential gene expression experiment showed differences between the mRNA levels of all target genes between G. buenoi being reared in the two different photoperiods. More specific upregulation of the genes FOXO and insulin receptor 2 in short winged G. buenoi were demonstrated. Further, insulin receptor 1-like, was also demonstrated to be upregulated in the short winged morph. Results presented in this project are in line with the previously identified regulation pattern in BPH, still the results need further evaluation. Since gene expression differences were present for all candidate genes between G. buenoi reared in the different photoperiods, theses genes could still be seen as potential candidate genes in wing polyphenism in water striders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 35
Series
UPTEC X ; 19 040
Keywords [en]
Phenotypic plasticity, RNAi, RT-qPCR, wing polyphenism, water striders
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-394909OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-394909DiVA, id: diva2:1359840
Educational program
Molecular Biotechnology Engineering Programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-10-14 Created: 2019-10-10 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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