Microarray-based annotation of the gut transcriptome of the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria.Insect Mol Biol. 2016 12; 25(6):745-756.IM
The migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, is a serious agricultural pest and important insect model in the study of insect digestion and feeding behaviour. The gut is one of the primary interfaces between the insect and its environment. Nevertheless, knowledge on the gut transcriptome of L. migratoria is still very limited. Here, 48 802 expressed sequence tags were extracted from publicly available databases and their expression in larval gut and/or brain tissue was determined using microarray hybridization. Our data show 2765 transcripts predominantly or exclusively expressed in the gut. Many transcripts had putative functions closely related to the physiological functions of the gut as a muscular digestive organ and as the first barrier against microorganisms and a wide range of toxins. By means of a ranking procedure based on the relative signal intensity, we estimated 15% of the transcripts to show high expression levels, the highest belonging to diverse digestive enzymes and muscle-related proteins. We also found evidence for very high expression of an allergen protein, which could have important implications, as locusts form a traditional food source in various parts of the world, and were also recently added to the list of insects fit for human consumption in Europe. Interestingly, many highly expressed sequences have as yet unknown functions. Taken together, the present data provide significant insight into locust larval gut physiology, and will be valuable for future studies on the insect gut.