Tribolium castaneum is a member of the most species-rich eukaryotic order, a powerful model organism for the study of generalized insect development, and an important pest of stored agricultural products. We describe its genome sequence here. This omnivorous beetle has evolved the ability to interact with a diverse chemical environment, as shown by large expansions in odorant and gustatory receptors, as well as P450 and other detoxification enzymes. Development in Tribolium is more representative of other insects than is Drosophila, a fact reflected in gene content and function. For example, Tribolium has retained more ancestral genes involved in cell - cell communication than Drosophila, some being expressed in the growth zone crucial for axial elongation in short- germ development. Systemic RNA interference in T. castaneum functions differently from that in Caenorhabditis elegans, but nevertheless offers similar power for the elucidation of gene function and identification of targets for selective insect control.
The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, is an important model insect and agricultural pest. However, many standard genetic tools are lacking or underdeveloped in this system. Here, we present a set of new reagents to augment existing Tribolium genetic tools. We demonstrate a new GAL4 driver line that employs the promoter of a ribosomal protein gene to drive expression of a UAS responder in the fat body. We also present a novel dual fluorescent reporter that labels cell membranes and nuclei with different fluorophores for the analysis of cellular morphology. This approach also demonstrates the functionality of the viral T2A peptide for bicistronic gene expression in Tribolium. To facilitate classical genetic analysis, we created lines with visible genetic markers by CRISPR-mediated disruption of the yellowand ebony body color loci with a cassette carrying an attP site, enabling future phi C31-mediated integration. Together, the reagents presented here will facilitate more robust genetic analysis in Tribolium and serve as a blueprint for the further development of this powerful model's genetic toolkit.
A common hallmark of human cancers is the overexpression of telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein complex that is responsible for maintaining the length and integrity of chromosome ends. Telomere length deregulation and telomerase activation is an early, and perhaps necessary, step in cancer cell evolution. Here we present the high- resolution structure of the Tribolium castaneum catalytic subunit of telomerase, TERT. The protein consists of three highly conserved domains, organized into a ring- like structure that shares common features with retroviral reverse transcriptases, viral RNA polymerases and B- family DNA polymerases. Domain organization places motifs implicated in substrate binding and catalysis in the interior of the ring, which can accommodate seven to eight bases of double- stranded nucleic acid. Modelling of an RNA - DNA heteroduplex in the interior of this ring demonstrates a perfect fit between the protein and the nucleic acid substrate, and positions the 39- end of the DNA primer at the active site of the enzyme, providing evidence for the formation of an active telomerase elongation complex.
The iBeetle-Base (http://ibeetle-base.uni-goettingen.de) makes available annotations of RNAi phenotypes, which were gathered in a large scale RNAi screen in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum (iBeetle screen). In addition, it provides access to sequence information and links for all Tribolium cas-taneum genes. The iBeetle-Base contains the annotations of phenotypes of several thousands of genes knocked down during embryonic and metamorphic epidermis and muscle development in addition to phenotypes linked to oogenesis and stink gland biology. The phenotypes are described according to the EQM (entity, quality, modifier) system using controlled vocabularies and the Tribolium morphological ontology (TrOn). Furthermore, images linked to the respective annotations are provided. The data are searchable either for specific phenotypes using a complex 'search for morphological defects' or a 'quick search' for gene names and IDs. The red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum has become an important model system for insect functional genetics and is a representative of the most species rich taxon, the Coleoptera, which comprise several devastating pests. It is used for studying insect typical development, the evolution of development and for research on metabolism and pest control. Besides Drosophila, Tribolium is the first insect model organism where large scale unbiased screens have been performed.
Neuropeptides and protein hormones are ancient molecules that mediate cell-to-cell communication. The whole genome sequence from the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, along with those from other insect species, provides an opportunity to Study the evolution of the genes encoding neuropeptide and protein hormones. We identified 41 of these genes in the Tribolium genome by Using a combination of bioinformatic and peptidomic approaches. These genes encode >80 mature neuropeptides and protein hormones, 49 peptides of which were experimentally identified by peptidomics of the central nervous system and other neuroendocrine organs. Twenty-three genes have orthologs in Drosophila melanogaster. Sixteen genes in five different groups are likely the result of recent gene expansions during beetle evolution. These five groups contain peptides related to antidiuretic factor-b (ADF-b), CRF-like diuretic hormone (DH37 and DH47 of Tribolium), adipokinetic hormone (AKH), eclosion hormone, and insulin-like peptide. In addition, we found a gene encoding an arginine-vasopressin-like (AVPL) peptide and one for its receptor. Both genes occur only in Tribolium and not in other holometabolous insects with a sequenced genome. The presence of many additional osmoregulatory peptides in Tribolium agrees well with its ability to live in very dry surroundings. In contrast to these extra genes, there are at least nine neuropeptide genes missing in Tribolium, including the genes encoding the prepropeptides for corazonin, kinin, and allatostatin-A. The cognate receptor genes for these three peptides also appear to be absent in the Tribolium genome. our analysis of Tribolium indicates that, during insect evolution, genes for neuropeptides and protein hormones are often duplicated or lost.
In insects, perception of chemical stimuli is involved in the acceptance or rejection of food. Gustatory receptors (Grs) that regulate external signals in chemosensory organs have been found in many insects. Tribolium castaneum, a major pest of stored products, possesses over 200 Gr genes. An expanded repertoire of Gr genes appears to be required for diet recognition in species that are generalist feeders; however, it remains unclear whether T. castaneum recognizes a suite of chemicals common to many products or whether its feeding is activated by specific chemicals, and whether its Grs are involved in feeding behavior. It is difficult to determine the food preferences of T. castaneum based on dietary intake due to a lack of appropriate methodology. This study established a novel dietary intake estimation method using gypsum, designated the TribUTE (Tribolium Urges To Eat) assay. For this assay, T. castaneum adults were fed a gypsum block without added organic compounds. Sweet preference was determined by adding sweeteners and measuring the amount of gypsum in the excreta. Mannitol was the strongest activator of T. castaneum dietary intake. In a Xenopus oocyte expression, TcGr20 was found to be responsible for mannitol and sorbitol responses, but not for responses to other tested non-volatile compounds. The EC50 values of TcGr20 for mannitol and sorbitol were 72.6 mM and 90.6 mM, respectively, suggesting that TcGr20 is a feasible receptor for the recognition of mannitol at lower concentrations. We used RNAi and the TribUTE assay to examine whether TcGr20 expression was involved in mannitol recognition. The amounts of excreta in TcGr20 dsRNA-injected adults decreased significantly, despite the presence of mannitol, compared to control adults. Taken together, our results indicate that T. castaneum adults recognized mannitol/sorbitol using the TcGr20 receptor, thereby facilitating the dietary intake of these compounds.
Background: The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters belong to a large superfamily of proteins that have important physiological functions in all living organisms. Most are integral membrane proteins that transport a broad spectrum of substrates across lipid membranes. In insects, ABC transporters are of special interest because of their role in insecticide resistance. Results: We have identified 73 ABC transporter genes in the genome of T. castaneum, which group into eight subfamilies (ABCA-H). This coleopteran ABC family is significantly larger than those reported for insects in other taxonomic groups. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that this increase is due to gene expansion within a single clade of subfamily ABCC. We performed an RNA interference (RNAi) screen to study the function of ABC transporters during development. In ten cases, injection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) into larvae caused developmental phenotypes, which included growth arrest and localized melanization, eye pigmentation defects, abnormal cuticle formation, egg-laying and egg-hatching defects, and mortality due to abortive molting and desiccation. Some of the ABC transporters we studied in closer detail to examine their role in lipid, ecdysteroid and eye pigment transport. Conclusions: The results from our study provide new insights into the physiological function of ABC transporters in T. castaneum, and may help to establish new target sites for insect control.
As invertebrates lack the molecular machinery employed by the vertebrate adaptive immune system, it was thought that they consequently lack the ability to produce lasting and specific immunity. However, in recent years, it has been demonstrated that the immune defence of invertebrates is by far more complicated and specific than previously envisioned. Lasting immunity following an initial exposure that proves protection on a secondary exposure has been shown in several species of invertebrates. This phenomenon has become known as immune priming. In the cases where it is explicitly tested, this priming can also be highly specific. In this study, we used survival assays to test for specific priming of resistance in the red flour beetle,,Tribolium castaneum,using bacteria of different degrees of relatedness. Our results suggest an unexpected degree of specificity that even allows for differentiation between different strains of the same bacterium. However, our findings also demonstrate that specific priming of resistance in insects may not be ubiquitous across all bacteria.
Hermetic grain storage technology offers a viable chemical-free approach to control storage insects. However, there is limited knowledge on how hypoxia affects the survival of insect life stages during grain storage in hermetic bags. We exposed Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) eggs (2 d), young larvae (7 d), old larvae (21 d), pupae (28 d), and adults (2 d after emergence) to 2, 4, 8, and 20.9% oxygen levels for 1, 3, 5, 10, and 15 d and assessed subsequent mortality. At 2% oxygen, complete mortality was achieved in 3 d for eggs and young larvae, 10 d for old larvae and pupae, and 15 d for adults. At 4% oxygen, 15 d were required to kill all eggs and old larvae but not the other insect life stages. At 8% oxygen after 15 d, complete mortality of any insect life stage was not observed; but even a relatively short exposure (1-3 d) caused significant developmental delays in immature insects. Our study shows potential utility of hermetic technology for control of T. castaneum, but internal oxygen should be maintained below 2% level for at least 15 d for complete control. Increased oxygen levels improved the development of all insect life stages leading to increased adult emergence. There is a need to explore exposure time required to achieve complete mortality of all insect life stage above the 2% oxygen level.
Effective, ethical pest control requires the use of chemicals that are highly specific, safe, and ecofriendly. Linalool and -pinene occur naturally as major constituents of the essential oils of many plant species distributed throughout the world, and thus meet these requirements. These monoterpenes were tested as repellents against Tribolium castaneum, using the area preference method, after four hours of exposure and the effect transcriptional of genes associated with neurotransmission. Changes in gene expression of acetylcholinesterase (Ace1), GABA-gated anion channel splice variant 3a6a (Rdl), GABA-gated ion channel (Grd), glutamate-gated chloride channel (Glucl), and histamine-gated chloride channel 2 (Hiscl2) were assessed and the interaction with proteins important for the insect using in silico methods was also studied. For linalool and -pinene, the repellent concentration 50 (RC50) values were 0.11 mu L/cm2 and 0.03 mu L/cm2, respectively. Both compounds induced overexpression of Hiscl2 gen in adult insects, and -pinene also promoted the overexpression of Grd and the Ace1 gene. However, -pinene and linalool had little potential to dock on computer-generated models for GABA-gated ion channel LCCH3, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits alpha1 and alpha2, and putative octopamine/tyramine receptor proteins from T. castaneum as their respective binding affinities were marginal, and therefore the repellent action probably involved mechanisms other than direct interaction with these targets. Results indicated that -pinene was more potent than linalool in inducing insect repellency, and also had a greater capacity to generate changes in the expression of genes involved in neuronal transmission.