Patterns of differential gene expression in adult rotation-resistant and wild-type western corn rootworm digestive tracts

Chia Ching Chu, Jorge A. Zavala, Joseph L. Spencer, Matías J. Curzi, Christopher J. Fields, Jenny Drnevich, Blair D. Siegfried, Manfredo J. Seufferheld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The western corn rootworm (WCR, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) is an important pest of corn. Annual crop rotation between corn and soybean disrupts the corn-dependent WCR life cycle and is widely adopted to manage this pest. This strategy selected for rotation-resistant (RR) WCR with reduced ovipositional fidelity to corn. Previous studies revealed that RR-WCR adults exhibit greater tolerance of soybean diets, different gut physiology, and host-microbe interactions compared to rotation-susceptible wild types (WT). To identify the genetic mechanisms underlying these phenotypic changes, a de novo assembly of the WCR adult gut transcriptome was constructed and used for RNA-sequencing analyses of RNA libraries from different WCR phenotypes fed with corn or soybean diets. Global gene expression profiles of WT- and RR-WCR were similar when feeding on corn diets, but different when feeding on soybean. Using network-based methods, we identified gene modules transcriptionally correlated with the RR phenotype. Gene ontology enrichment analyses indicated that the functions of these modules were related to metabolic processes, immune responses, biological adhesion, and other functions/processes that appear to correlate to documented traits in RR populations. These results suggest that gut transcriptomic divergence correlated with brief soybean feeding and other physiological traits may exist between RR- and WT-WCR adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-704
Number of pages13
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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