Journal Article

The cys-loop ligand-gated ion channel gene superfamilies of the cockroaches Blattella germanica and Periplaneta americana


Background. Cockroaches are serious urban pests that can transfer disease-causing microorganisms as well as trigger allergic reactions and asthma. They are commonly managed by pesticides that act on cys-loop ligand-gated ion channels (cysLGIC). To provide further information that will enhance our understanding of how insecticides act on their molecular targets in cockroaches, we used genome and reverse transcriptase PCR data to characterise the cysLGIC gene superfamilies from Blattella germanica and Periplaneta americana. Results. The B. germanica and P. americana cysLGIC superfamilies consist of 30 and 32 subunit-encoding genes, respectively, which are the largest insect cysLGIC superfamilies characterized to date. As with other insects, the cockroaches possess ion channels predicted to be gated by acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, glutamate and histamine, as well as orthologues of the Drosophila pH-sensitive chloride channel (pHCl), CG8916 and CG12344. The large cysLGIC superfamilies of cockroaches are a result of an expanded number of divergent nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits, with B. germanica and P. americana respectively possessing eight and ten subunit genes. Diversity of the cockroach cysLGICs is also broadened by alternative splicing and RNA A-to-I editing. Unusually, both cockroach species possess a second glutamate-gated chloride channel as well as another CG8916 subunit. Conclusion. These findings on B. germanica and P. americana enhance our understanding of the evolution of the insect cysLGIC superfamily and provide a useful basis for the study of their function, the detection and management of insecticide resistance, and for the development of improved pesticides with greater specificity towards these major pests.

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Jones, Andrew K.
Goven, Delphine
Froger, Josy-Anne
Bantz, Alexandre
Raymond, Valerie

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-01-08

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