Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Gene 599 (2017) 68–77


U.S. Government Work


Schizaphis graminum (green bug; GB) and Sipha flava (yellowsugarcane aphid; YSA) are two cereal aphid species with broad host ranges capable of establishing on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and several switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) cultivars. Switchgrass and sorghum are staple renewable bioenergy crops that are vulnerable to damage by aphids, therefore, identifying novel targets to control aphids has the potential to drastically improve yields and reduce losses in these bioenergy crops. Despite thewealth of genomic and transcriptomic information available from a closely related model aphid species, the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), similar genomic information, including the identification of small RNAs, is still limited for GB and YSA. Deep sequencing of miRNAs expressed in GB and YSA was conducted and 72 and 56 miRNA candidates (including 14 and eight novel) were identified, respectively. Of the identified miRNAs, 45 were commonly expressed in both aphid species. Further, plant derived miRNAs were also detected in both aphid samples, including 13 (eight known and five novel) sorghum miRNAs and three (novel) barley miRNAs. In addition, potential aphid gene targets for the host plant derived miRNAs were predicted. The establishment of miRNA repertoires in these two aphid species and the detection of plant-derived miRNA in aphids will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the role of miRNAs in regulating gene expression networks in these two aphids and the potential roles of plant miRNAs in mediating plant-insect interactions.

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