Functional analysis of alkaline phosphatase in whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Middle East Asia minor 1 and Mediterranean) on different host plants.
Alkaline phosphatases (ALPs: EC 220.127.116.11) are ubiquitous enzymes and play crucial roles in the fundamental phosphate uptake and secretory processes. Although insects are regarded as the most diverse group of organisms, the current understanding of ALP roles in insects is limited. As one type of destructive agricultural pest, whitefly Bemisia tabaci, a phloem feeder and invasive species, can cause extensive crop damage through feeding and transmitting plant diseases. In this study, we retrieved five ALP genes in MEAM1 whitefly, nine ALP genes in MED whitefly via comparative genomics approaches. Compared with nine other insects, whiteflies' ALP gene family members did not undergo significant expansion during insect evolution, and whiteflies' ALP genes were dispersed. Moreover, whiteflies' ALP gene family was conserved among insects and emerged before speciation via phylogenetic analysis. Whiteflies' ALP gene expression profiles presented that most ALP genes have different expression patterns after feeding on cotton or tobacco plants. Female/male MED whiteflies possessed higher ALP activities on both cotton and tobacco plants irrespective of sex, relative to MEAM1 whiteflies. Meanwhile, adult MED whiteflies possessed higher ALP activity in both whole insect and salivary samples, relative to MEAM1 whiteflies. We also found that both MED and MEAM1 whiteflies could upregulate ALP activities after feeding on cotton compared with feeding on tobacco plants. These findings demonstrated the functions of whiteflies ALPs and will assist the further study of the genomic evolution of insect ALPs.