Disruption of sex-specific doublesex exons results in male- and female-specific defects in the black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon

Xien Chen, Yanghui Cao, Shuai Zhan, Anjiang Tan, Subba Reddy Palli, Yongping Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Doublesex (dsx), the downstream gene in the insect sex-determination pathway, is a key regulator of sexually dimorphic development and behavior across a variety of insects. Manipulating expression of dsx could be useful in the genetic control of insects. However, information on the sex-specific function of dsx in non-model insects is lacking. RESULTS: In this work, we isolated a dsx homolog, which is alternatively spliced into six female-specific and one male-specific isoforms, from an important agricultural pest, the black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon. Studies on the expression of sex-specific Aidsx mRNA during embryonic development showed that the sixth hour post oviposition is the key stage for sex determination in A. ipsilon. Functional analysis of Aidsx was conducted using a CRISPR/Cas9 system targeting female- and male-specific Aidsx exons. Disruptions of sex-specific Aidsx exons resulted in sex-specific, sexually dimorphic defects in external genitals, gonads and antennae, and expression of sex-specific genes as well as production of offspring in both sexes. CONCLUSION: Our results not only demonstrate that dsx is a key player determining A. ipsilon sexually dimorphic traits, but also provide a potential method for the genetic control of this pest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1697-1706
Number of pages10
JournalPest Management Science
Volume75
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords

  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • antennae
  • doublesex
  • genetic pest control
  • gonads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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