A Transcriptome Survey Spanning Life Stages and Sexes of the Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica
The harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn), is an agricultural pest in the continental United States, particularly in southern states. Reliable gene sequence data are especially useful to the development of species-specific, environmentally friendly molecular biopesticides and effective biolures for this insect. Here, mRNAs were sampled from whole insects at the 2nd and 4th nymphal instars, as well as sexed adults, and sequenced using Illumina RNA-Seq technology. A global assembly of these data identified 72,540 putative unique transcripts bearing high levels of similarity to transcripts identified in other taxa, with over 99% of conserved single-copy orthologs among insects being detected. Gene ontology and protein family analyses were conducted to explore the functional potential of the harlequin bug’s gene repertoire, and phylogenetic analyses were conducted on gene families germane to xenobiotic detoxification, including glutathione S-transferases, carboxylesterases and cytochrome P450s. Genic content in harlequin bug was compared with that of the closely related invasive pest, the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stal). Quantitative analyses of harlequin bug gene expression levels, experimentally validated using quantitative real-time PCR, identified genes differentially expressed between life stages and/or sexes.