Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Mediterranean fruit fly genes exhibit different expression patterns between heat and cold treatments.

Abstract

Invasive Tephritid fruit flies are a global threat to both agriculture and horticulture industries. Biosecurity has played a critical role in reducing their damage but becomes more and more challenging after several key chemical pesticides were banned or withdrawn for health or environmental reasons. This has led to non-chemical approaches including heat and cold treatments being broadly utilized to get rid of fruit fly infestation. However, the molecular mechanisms to kill the flies underlying these stressors are not clear yet. This knowledge will certainly help refine current post-harvest treatment strategies and develop more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly approaches for fruit fly management. Previously, the molecular response of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) to heat was examined thoroughly, in which 31 key genes were identified with significant changes in expression levels and their high-resolution expression timeline was constructed across 11 timepoints. However, whether these candidate genes respond to cold in the same way was unknown. Here, a temperature bioassay was conducted and the expression profiles of these genes were investigated across the same 11 timepoints using cold treatment. The results showed that most of candidate genes exhibited divergent expression profiles compared to heat treatment, suggesting that the fly molecular response to cold may be different from those to heat. This study provides new knowledge of Tephritid fruit fly response to cold at a molecular level, which could aid in improving current fruit fly management and facilitate the development of new strategies to control this serious horticultural insect pest.