Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Silencing of vitellogenin gene contributes to the promise of controlling red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier).

Abstract

Red palm weevil [Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier)], is native to South Asia and expanding its distribution range globally. Recent invasions of red palm weevil around the world, including Saudi Arabia, has become a global constraint for the production of palm species. Although, several control measures have been tested, none of them seemed successful against this invasive species. Therefore, we focused on silencing the reproduction control gene vitellogenin (Vg) based on RNA interference (RNAi) strategy for its possible application in the management of R. ferrugineus. The Vg is a major yolk protein precursor critical for oogenesis. To do this, fat body transcriptome of R. ferrugineus female adults was sequenced, which provided partial Vg gene transcript (FPKM 5731.60). A complete RfVg gene transcript of 5504 bp encoding 1787 amino acids was then sequenced using RCAE-PCR strategy and characterized. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that RfVg has closer ancestry to the coleopteran insects. The RfVg-based RNAi significantly suppressed the expressions of Vg gene. The 15, 20 and 25 days post-injection periods suppressed Vg expressions by 95, 96.6 and 99%, respectively. The suppressed Vg expressions resulted in the dramatic failure of Vg protein expression, which caused atrophied ovaries or no oogenesis and ultimately eggs were not hatched. These results suggest that knockdown of Vg gene involved in R. ferrugineus reproduction is a promising target for RNAi-based management of R. ferrugineus.