Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(10):1323-1334. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4189

Research Paper

Characterization of a Chitin Synthase Encoding Gene and Effect of Diflubenzuron in Soybean Aphid, Aphis Glycines

Raman Bansal1, M. A. Rouf Mian2, Omprakash Mittapalli1, Andy P. Michel1✉

1. Department of Entomology, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, USA.
2. USDA-ARS and Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH 44691, USA.


Chitin synthases are critical enzymes for synthesis of chitin and thus for subsequent growth and development in insects. We identified the cDNA of chitin synthase gene (CHS) in Aphis glycines, the soybean aphid, which is a serious pest of soybean. The full-length cDNA of CHS in A. glycines (AyCHS) was 5802 bp long with an open reading frame of 4704 bp that encoded for a 1567 amino acid residues protein. The predicted AyCHS protein had a molecular mass of 180.05 kDa and its amino acid sequence contained all the signature motifs (EDR, QRRRW and TWGTR) of chitin synthases. The quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analysis revealed that AyCHS was expressed in all major tissues (gut, fat body and integument); however, it had the highest expression in integument (~3.5 fold compared to gut). Interestingly, the expression of AyCHS in developing embryos was nearly 7 fold higher compared to adult integument, which probably is a reflection of embryonic molts in hemimetabolus insects. Expression analysis in different developmental stages of A. glycines revealed a consistent AyCHS expression in all stages. Further, through leaf dip bioassay, we tested the effect of diflubenzuron (DFB, Dimilin ®), a chitin-synthesis inhibitor, on A. glycines' survival, fecundity and body weight. When fed with soybean leaves previously dipped in 50 ppm DFB solution, A. glycines nymphs suffered significantly higher mortality compared to control. A. glycines nymphs feeding on diflubenzuron treated leaves showed a slightly enhanced expression (1.67 fold) of AyCHS compared to nymphs on untreated leaves. We discussed the potential applications of the current study to develop novel management strategies using chitin-synthesis inhibitors and using RNAi by knocking down AyCHS expression.

Keywords: Chitin synthase, Aphis glycines, Integument, Embryo, Diflubenzuron.

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How to cite this article:
Bansal R, Mian MAR, Mittapalli O, Michel AP. Characterization of a Chitin Synthase Encoding Gene and Effect of Diflubenzuron in Soybean Aphid, Aphis Glycines. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(10):1323-1334. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4189. Available from