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Differential gene expression and alternative splicing in insect immune specificity

By Carolyn E. Riddell, Juan D. Lobaton Garces, Sally Adams, Seth M. Barribeau, David Twell, E.B. Mallon

Posted 14 Feb 2014
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/002709 (published DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-1031)

Ecological studies routinely show genotype-genotype interactions between insects and their parasites. The mechanisms behind these interactions are not clearly understood. Using the bumblebee Bombus terrestris / trypanosome Crithidia bombi model system, we have carried out a transcriptome-wide analysis of gene expression and alternative splicing in bees during C. bombi infection. We have performed four analyses, 1) comparing gene expression in infected and non-infected bees 24 hours after infection by Crithidia bombi, 2) comparing expression at 24 and 48 hours after C.bombi infection, 3) searching for differential gene expression associated with the host-parasite genotype-genotype interaction at 24 hours after infection and 4) searching for alternative splicing associated with the host-parasite genotype-genotype interaction at 24 hours post infection. We found a large number of genes differentially regulated related to numerous canonical immune pathways. These genes include receptors, signaling pathways and effectors. We discovered a possible interaction between the peritrophic membrane and the insect immune system in defense against Crithidia. Most interestingly we found differential expression and alternative splicing of Dscam related transcripts and a novel immunoglobulin related gene Twitchin depends on the genotype-genotype interactions of the given bumblebee colony and Crithidia strain.

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