Functional characterization of bursicon receptor and genome-wide analysis for identification of genes affected by bursicon receptor RNAi

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38 Scopus citations


Bursicon is an insect neuropeptide hormone that is secreted from the central nervous system into the hemolymph and initiates cuticle tanning. The receptor for bursicon is encoded by the rickets (rk) gene and belongs to the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily. The bursicon and its receptor regulate cuticle tanning as well as wing expansion after adult eclosion. However, the molecular action of bursicon signaling remains unclear. We utilized RNA interference (RNAi) and microarray to study the function of the bursicon receptor (Tcrk) in the model insect, Tribolium castaneum. The data included here showed that in addition to cuticle tanning and wing expansion reported previously, Tcrk is also required for development and expansion of integumentary structures and adult eclosion. Using custom microarrays, we identified 24 genes that are differentially expressed between Tcrk RNAi and control insects. Knockdown in the expression of one of these genes, TC004091, resulted in the arrest of adult eclosion. Identification of genes that are involved in bursicon receptor mediated biological processes will provide tools for future studies on mechanisms of bursicon action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-258
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health ( GM070559-06 ). We thank Dr. Nigel Cooper and Ms. Xiahong Li of University of Louisville for help with microarray experiment. The University of Louisville microarray facility is supported by NCRR IDeA Awards INBRE-P20 RR016481 and COBRE-P20RR018733 We thank Dr. Michael Sharkey and Dicky Yu for their help with microscopic facilities, Dr. Kenneth F. Haynes for the help with behavioral studies, Dr. Lynn M. Riddiford, Dr. Yoonseong Park and Dr. Qisheng Song for their valuable comments on the manuscript. This is contribution number 10-08-61 from the Kentucky Agricultural Experimental Station.


  • Ecdysis
  • Microarray
  • RNAi
  • Tanning
  • Tribolium castaneum
  • Wing expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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