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The melanin pigment gene black mediates body pigmentation and courtship behaviour in the German cockroach Blattella germanica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2024

Lang-Lang Gong
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
Yun-Feng Ma
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
Meng-Qi Zhang
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
Hong-Yan Feng
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
Yang-Yuntao Zhou
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
Ya-Qin Zhao
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
J. Joe Hull
Affiliation:
USDA-ARS Arid Land Agricultural Research Center, Maricopa AZ, 85138, USA
Youssef Dewer
Affiliation:
Phytotoxicity Research Department, Central Agricultural Pesticide Laboratory, Agricultural Research Center, 7 Nadi El-Seid Street, Dokki 12618, Giza, Egypt
Ming He*
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
Peng He*
Affiliation:
National Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide, Key Laboratory of Green Pesticide and Agricultural Bioengineering, Ministry of Education, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals of Guizhou University, Guiyang, 550025, PR China
*
Corresponding authors: Peng He; Email: phe1@gzu.edu.cn; Ming He; Email: hmher@126.com
Corresponding authors: Peng He; Email: phe1@gzu.edu.cn; Ming He; Email: hmher@126.com

Abstract

Genes involved in melanin production directly impact insect pigmentation and can affect diverse physiology and behaviours. The role these genes have on sex behaviour, however, is unclear. In the present study, the crucial melanin pigment gene black was functionally characterised in an urban pest, the German cockroach, Blattella germanica. RNAi knockdown of B. germanica black (Bgblack) had no effect on survival, but did result in black pigmentation of the thoraxes, abdomens, heads, wings, legs, antennae, and cerci due to cuticular accumulation of melanin. Sex-specific variation in the pigmentation pattern was apparent, with females exhibiting darker coloration on the abdomen and thorax than males. Bgblack knockdown also resulted in wing deformation and negatively impacted the contact sex pheromone-based courtship behaviour of males. This study provides evidence for black function in multiple aspects of B. germanica biology and opens new avenues of exploration for novel pest control strategies.

Type
Research Paper
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

*

Lead contact.

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