Antennal transcriptome sequencing and identification of candidate chemoreceptor proteins from an invasive pest, the American palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum.
For decades, the American palm weevil (APW), Rhynchophorus palmarum, has been a threat to coconut and oil palm production in the Americas. It has recently spread towards North America, endangering ornamental palms, and the expanding date palm production. Its behavior presents several parallelisms with a closely related species, R. ferrugineus, the red palm weevil (RPW), which is the biggest threat to palms in Asia and Europe. For both species, semiochemicals have been used for management. However, their control is far from complete. We generated an adult antennal transcriptome from APW and annotated chemosensory related gene families to obtain a better understanding of these species' olfaction mechanism. We identified unigenes encoding 37 odorant-binding proteins (OBPs), ten chemosensory proteins (CSPs), four sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs), seven gustatory receptors (GRs), 63 odorant receptors (ORs), and 28 ionotropic receptors (IRs). Noticeably, we find out the R. ferrugineus pheromone-binding protein and pheromone receptor orthologs from R. palmarum. Candidate genes identified and annotated in this study allow us to compare these palm weevils' chemosensory gene sets. Most importantly, this study provides the foundation for functional studies that could materialize as novel pest management strategies.