Image_1_Odorant-Binding Proteins Contribute to the Defense of the Red Flour Beetle, Tribolium castaneum, Against Essential Oil of Artemisia vulgaris.JPEG
The function of odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) in insect chemodetection has been extensively studied. However, the role of OBPs in the defense of insects against exogenous toxic substances remains elusive. The red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, a major pest of stored grains, causes serious economic losses for the agricultural grain and food processing industries. Here, biochemical analysis showed that essential oil (EO) from Artemisia vulgaris, a traditional Chinese medicine, has a strong contact killing effect against larvae of the red flour beetle. Furthermore, one OBP gene, TcOBPC11, was significantly induced after exposure to EO. RNA interference (RNAi) against TcOBPC11 led to higher mortality compared with the controls after EO treatment, suggesting that this OBP gene is associated with defense of the beetle against EO and leads to a decrease in sensitivity to the EO. Tissue expression profiling showed that expression of TcOBPC11 was higher in the fat body, Malpighian tubule, and hemolymph than in other larval tissues, and was mainly expressed in epidermis, fat body, and antennae from the early adult. The developmental expression profile revealed that expression of TcOBPC11 was higher in late larval stages and adult stages than in other developmental stages. These data indicate that TcOBPC11 may be involved in sequestration of exogenous toxicants in the larvae of T. castaneum. Our results provide a theoretical basis for the degradation mechanism of exogenous toxicants and identify potential novel targets for controlling the beetle.