Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is a class of noncoding RNA >200 bp in length that has essential roles in regulating a variety of biological processes. Here, researchers from Yichun University constructed a computational pipeline to identify lncRNA genes in the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), a major insect pest of cruciferous vegetables. In total, 3,324 lncRNAs corresponding to 2,475 loci were identified from 13 RNA-Seq datasets, including samples from parasitized, insecticide-resistant strains and different developmental stages. The identified P. xylostella lncRNAs had shorter transcripts and fewer exons than protein-coding genes. Seven out of nine randomly selected lncRNAs were validated by strand-specific RT-PCR. In total, 54-172 lncRNAs were specifically expressed in the insecticide resistant strains, among which one lncRNA was located adjacent to the sodium channel gene. In addition, 63-135 lncRNAs were specifically expressed in different developmental stages, among which three lncRNAs overlapped or were located adjacent to the metamorphosis-associated genes. These lncRNAs were either strongly or weakly co-expressed with their overlapping or neighboring mRNA genes. In summary, the researchers identified thousands of lncRNAs and presented evidence that lncRNAs might have key roles in conferring insecticide resistance and regulating the metamorphosis development in P. xylostella.
Heatmap of the lncRNA expression patterns in fipronil,
chlorpyrifos, Bt-resistance strain and different developmental stage
(A) Expression profile changes in lncRNA transcripts across control and fipronil- and chlorpyrifos-resistant strains. (B) Expression profile changes of lncRNA transcripts across Bt-resistance strains (MM, GK and MK). (C) Hierarchical clustering of expressional abundance of lncRNA transcripts in egg, larvae, pupae and adult.