Imaginal disc growth factor 4 regulates development and temperature adaptation in Bactrocera dorsalis.
The oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae) is an important invasive pest with high reproductive capacity and invasiveness; it has shown remarkable range expansion and brings higher risk to the environment and agriculture. The insect cuticle serves as skin and skeleton, protecting insects against numerous harmful stresses. One gene named imaginal disc growth factor 4 (idgf4) which is involved in cuticle formation, plays an important role in organizing proteins in the chitin-matrix, as well as in adult molting. This gene in the poorly-described glycoside hydrolase 18 (GH 18) family was chosen to study the function of chitinases in insect defense barrier against heat and molting using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and RNA interference (RNAi). qRT-PCR showed that idgf4 was expressed in all nine developmental stages and was mainly expressed in the early and late pupal, as well as adult stages. Knocking down the idgf4 gene via RNAi in 3rd instar larvae led to the decreased survival of larvae under high temperatures and malformed individuals as adults. The results indicated the function of the idgf4 gene in the fruit fly's defense barrier and development. It can provide new insights into understanding the function of one member in the GH 18 family, and may reveal a new potential gene for pest control.