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Authors: Sprenger, Philipp P.
Hartke, Juliane
Schmitt, Thomas
Menzel, Florian
Feldmeyer, Barbara
Title: Candidate genes involved in cuticular hydrocarbon differentiation between cryptic, parabiotic ant species
Online publication date: 12-Nov-2021
Language: english
Abstract: Insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) are highly diverse and have multiple functions, including communication and waterproofing. CHC profiles form species-specific, complex blends of up to 150 compounds. Especially in ants, even closely related species can have largely different profiles, raising the question how CHC differences are mirrored in the regulation of biosynthetic pathways. The neotropical ants Crematogaster levior and Camponotus femoratus both consist of two cryptic species each that are morphologically similar, but express strongly different CHC profiles. This is ideal to study the molecular basis of CHC differences. We thus investigated gene expression differences in fat-body transcriptomes of these ants. Despite common garden conditions, we found several thousand differentially expressed transcripts within each cryptic species pair. Many of these were related to metabolic processes, probably accounting for physiological differences. Moreover, we identified candidate genes from five gene families involved in CHC biosynthesis. By assigning candidate transcripts to orthologs in Drosophila, we inferred which CHCs might be influenced by differential gene expression. Expression of these candidate genes was often mirrored in the CHC profiles. For example, Cr. levior A, which has longer CHCs than its cryptic sister species, had a higher expression of elongases and a lower expression of fatty acyl- CoA reductases. This study is one of the first to identify CHC candidate genes in ants and will provide a basis for further research on the genetic basis of CHC biosynthesis.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY-NC-ND
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Journal: G3: Genes, genomes, genetics
Pages or article number: jkab078
Publisher: Genetics Soc. of America
Publisher place: Pittsburgh, PA
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 2160-1836
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab078
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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