microRNA profiling between Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ab-susceptible and -resistant European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner)

T. Yu, X. Li, B. S. Coates, Q. Zhang, B. D. Siegfried, X. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Transgenic maize hybrids that express insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystalline (Cry) protein toxins effectively protect against the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis, a devastating maize pest. Field monitoring and laboratory selections have detected varying levels of O. nubilalis resistance to Cry1Ab toxin. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that are involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation. Their potential roles in the evolution of Bt resistance, however, remain largely unknown. Sequencing of small RNA libraries from the midgut of Cry1Ab-susceptible and resistant O. nubilalis larvae resulted in the discovery of 277 miRNAs, including 248 conserved and 29 novel. Comparative analyses of miRNA expression profiles between the laboratory strains predicted 26 and nine significantly up- and down-regulated transcripts, respectively, in the midgut of Cry1Ab resistant larvae. Amongst 15 differentially regulated miRNAs examined by quantitative real-time PCR, nine (60%) were validated as cosegregating with Cry1Ab resistance in a backcross progeny. Differentially expressed miRNAs were predicted to affect transcripts involved in cell membrane components with functions in metabolism and binding, and the putative Bt-resistance genes aminopeptidase N and cadherin. These results lay the foundation for future investigation of the potential role of miRNAs in the evolution of Bt resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-294
Number of pages16
JournalInsect Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Royal Entomological Society


  • Bt resistance
  • Cry1Ab
  • European corn borer
  • Ostrinia nubilalis
  • miRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Insect Science


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