n African Entomology - Tracking microRNAs with a potential for virulence regulation in the pea aphid, Harris (Hemiptera : Aphidae), and the Asian citrus psyllid,




The pea aphid, (Hemiptera : Aphidae), and the Asian citrus psyllid, (Hemiptera : Psyllidae), are two major pests that conjunct in their virulence pathways against hosts by settling a gene-for-gene interaction model. The most effective controlling method of these pests is the deployment of host resistance (R) genes, which strongly depends on both host and insect genotypes. MicroRNAs (miRs) are noncoding RNAs of ~22 nucleotides inducing sequence-specific post-transcriptional gene silencing. The identification and analysis of miRs is nowadays a useful reverse genetics tool for studying insect virulence and host resistance pathways. in the present study, we utilized 15 virulence-regulatory miRs of the Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), to search for homologies across 103 mature miRs and 86 miR-like expressed sequence tags (ESTs), mined from several databases. Our results showed that reference miRs from could be grouped with their most similar microRNA counterparts from and within eight phylogenetic clades, and that seven of miRs clustered with ones at a similarity threshold of 90%. Such structural similarities strongly suggest that different avirulence (Avr) genes from and would be tightly regulated by a regulatory network including similar miRs. Our study offers a promising way to further explore the structural similarity between miRs toward their potential use in Integrated Pest Management (IPM).


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