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Silencing the Myosin Regulatory Light Chain Gene sqh Reduces Cold Hardiness in Ophraella communa LeSage (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

Zhenqi Tian , Yan Zhang , Chao Ma , Hongsong Chen , Jianying Guo , Zhongshi Zhou
Published: 28 November 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Insects
Insects , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120844

Abstract: Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a noxious invasive alien weed, that is harmful to the environment and human health. Ophraella communa is a biocontrol agent for A. artemisiifolia, that was accidentally introduced to the Chinese mainland and has now spread throughout southern China. Recently, we found that upon artificial introduction, O. communa can survive in northern China as well. Therefore, it is necessary to study the cold hardiness of O. communa. Many genes have been identified to play a role in cold-tolerance regulation in insects, but the function of the gene encoding non-muscle myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC-sqh) remains unknown. To evaluate the role played by MRLC-sqh in the cold-tolerance response, we cloned and characterized MRLC-sqh from O. communa. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that MRLC-sqh was expressed at high levels in the gut and pupae of O. communa. The expression of MRLC-sqh was shown to decrease after cold shock between 10 and 0 °C and ascend between 0 and −10 °C, but these did not show a positive association between MRLC-sqh expression and cold stress. Silencing of MRLC-sqh using dsMRLC-sqh increased the chill-coma recovery time of these beetles, suggesting that cold hardiness was reduced in its absence. These results suggest that the cold hardiness of O. communa may be partly regulated by MRLC-sqh. Our findings highlight the importance of motor proteins in mediating the cold response in insects.
Keywords: RNA interference / cold hardiness / Ophraella communa / Chill-coma Recovery Time / MRLC-sqh

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