Ecology and evolution, 2018-08, Vol.8 (16), p.8055-8075
Due to its fundamental role in shaping host selection behavior, we have analyzed the chemosensory repertoire of Chrysomela lapponica. This specialized leaf beetle evolved distinct populations which shifted from the ancestral host plant, willow (Salix sp., Salicaceae), to birch (Betula rotundifolia, Betulaceae). We identified 114 chemosensory candidate genes in adult C. lapponica: 41 olfactory receptors (ORs), eight gustatory receptors, 17 ionotropic receptors, four sensory neuron membrane proteins, 32 odorant binding proteins (OBPs), and 12 chemosensory proteins (CSP) by RNA‐seq. Differential expression analyses in the antennae revealed significant upregulation of one minus‐C OBP (ClapOBP27) and one CSP (ClapCSP12) in the willow feeders. In contrast, one OR (ClapOR17), four minus‐C OBPs (ClapOBP02, 07, 13, 20), and one plus‐C OBP (ClapOBP32) were significantly upregulated in birch feeders. The differential expression pattern in the legs was more complex. To narrow down putative ligands acting as cues for host discrimination, the relative abundance and diversity of volatiles of the two host plant species were analyzed. In addition to salicylaldehyde (willow‐specific), both plant species differed mainly in their emission rate of terpenoids such as (E,E)‐α‐farnesene (high in willow) or 4,8‐dimethylnona‐1,3,7‐triene (high in birch). Qualitatively, the volatiles were similar between willow and birch leaves constituting an “olfactory bridge” for the beetles. Subsequent structural modeling of the three most differentially expressed OBPs and docking studies using 22 host volatiles indicated that ligands bind with varying affinity. We suggest that the evolution of particularly minus‐C OBPs and ORs in C. lapponica facilitated its host plant shift via chemosensation of the phytochemicals from birch as novel host plant.
We test whether host plant shift of a specialist phytophagous beetle (Chrysomela lapponica) is accompanied by the modulation of its chemosensory repertoire. We present a comparative and tissue‐specific transcriptomic inventory of chemosensory genes (OR, OBP, CSP, GR, IR, and SNMP) from two distinct populations that differ in their preference for either willow or birch leaves. Combined with leaf volatile analyses and protein modeling, our results indicate that changes in the expression of mainly minus‐C OBPs and ORs are associated with host shift.
chemosensory genes ; Chrysomela lapponica ; host plant shift ; leaf volatile analysis ; Original Research ; structural protein modeling ; transcriptomics
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