Recent resurgence of the bedbug Cimex lectularius is a global problem on the public health. On account of the worldwide rise of insecticide-resistant bedbug populations, exploration of new approaches to the bedbug control and management is anticipated. In this context, gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) has been considered for its potential application to pest control and management, because RNAi enables specific suppression of target genes and thus flexible selection of target traits to be disrupted. In this study, in an attempt to develop a control strategy targeting reproduction of the bedbug, we investigated RNAimediated gene silencing of vitellogenin (Vg), a major yolk protein precursor essential for oogenesis. From the bedbug transcriptomes, we identified a typical Vg gene and a truncated Vg gene, which were designated as ClVg and ClVg-like, respectively. ClVg gene was highly expressed mainly in the fat body of adult females, which was more than 100 times higher than the expression level of ClVg-like gene, indicating that ClVg gene is the primary functional Vg gene in the bedbug. RNAi-mediated suppression of ClVg gene expression in adult females resulted in drastically reduced egg production, atrophied ovaries, and inflated abdomen due to hypertrophied fat bodies. These phenotypic consequences are expected not only to suppress the bedbug reproduction directly but also to deteriorate its feeding and survival indirectly via behavioral modifications. These results suggest the potential of ClVg gene as a promising target for RNAi-based population management of the bedbug.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)