Modulation of nonessential amino acid biosynthetic pathways in virulent Hessian fly larvae (Mayetiola destructor), feeding on susceptible host wheat (Triticum aestivum).J Insect Physiol. 2018 Feb - Mar; 105:54-63.JI
Compatible interactions between wheat (Triticum aestivum), and its dipteran pest Hessian fly (Hf, Mayetiola destructor) result in successful establishment of larval feeding sites rendering the host plant susceptible. Virulent larvae employ an effector-based feeding strategy to reprogram the host physiology resulting in formation of a protein- and sugar-rich nutritive tissue beneficial to developing larvae. Previous studies documented increased levels of nonessential amino acids (NAA; that need not be received through insect diet) in the susceptible wheat in response to larval feeding, suggesting importance of plant-derived NAA in larval nutrition. Here, we investigated the modulation of genes from NAA biosynthetic pathways (NAABP) in virulent Hf larvae. Transcript profiling for 16 NAABP genes, annotated from the recently assembled Hf genome, was carried out in the feeding first-, and second-instars and compared with that of the first-instar neonate (newly hatched, migrating, assumed to be non-feeding) larvae. While Tyr, Gln, Glu, and Pro NAABP genes transcript abundance declined in the feeding instars as compared to the neonates, those for Ala, and Ser increased in the feeding larval instars, despite higher levels of these NAA in the susceptible host plant. Asp, Asn, Gly and Cys NAABP genes exhibited variable expression profiles in the feeding first- and second-instars. Our results indicate that while Hf larvae utilize the plant-derived NAA, de novo synthesis of several NAA may be necessary to: (i) provide larvae with the requisite amount for sustaining growth before nutritive tissue formation and, (ii) overcome any inadequate amounts in the host plant, post-nutritive tissue formation.