Diet effects on transcriptomics in Trichoplusia ni and its susceptibility to AcMNPV baculovirus.
Chen, E., Donly, C. (2017) Diet effects on transcriptomics in Trichoplusia ni and its susceptibility to AcMNPV baculovirus. Insect Biotech Conference, St. Catharines, Ontario. 14-16 June 2017, oral presentation.
The insect peritrophic membrane (PM) is a permeable chitin matrix, lining the midgut with roles
in food compartmentalization and biochemical defence against ingested plant compounds. It also
has protective roles against ingested insect pathogens. However, the PM structure can be
influenced by diet, which in turn can affect the susceptibility of insects to pathogens. In this
study, we aim to investigate the extent of such an effect by examining PM structure and
measuring larval susceptibility to ingested pathogens in Trichoplusia ni larvae raised on either
cabbage or potato diet. We are studying the effects of different diets on PM structure, such as
differences in formation, thickness, and organization, under scanning and transmission electron
microscopy. In addition, through RNA sequencing experiments, we are investigating the gut
transcriptome under each diet to provide further insights on candidate genes whose differential
expression could result in the variability of PM structure observed. Furthermore, we are studying
the effect of different diets on T. ni growth and its susceptibility to the baculovirus Autographa
californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV). Our primary results show prolonged
larval development and lower susceptibility to AcMNPV in potato-fed insects compared to
cabbage-fed insects. Together, our results should further our knowledge in dietary influences on
insect susceptibility to pathogens, helping to develop improved strategies in pest control.