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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Comparative morphological and transcriptomic analyses reveal chemosensory genes in the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae

Bhowmick, Biswajit; Tang, Yu; Lin, Fang; Oines, Oivind; Zhao, Jianguo; Liao, Chenghong; Ignell, Rickard; Hansson, Bill S.; Han, Qian


Detection of chemical cues via chemosensory receptor proteins are essential for most animals, and underlies critical behaviors, including location and discrimination of food resources, identification of sexual partners and avoidance of predators. The current knowledge of how chemical cues are detected is based primarily on data acquired from studies on insects, while our understanding of the molecular basis for chemoreception in acari, mites in particular, remains limited. The poultry red mite (PRM), Dermanyssus gallinae, is one of the most important blood-feeding ectoparasites of poultry. PRM are active at night which suck the birds' blood during periods of darkness and hide themselves in all kinds of gaps and cracks during the daytime. The diversity in habitat usage, as well as the demonstrated host finding and avoidance behaviors suggest that PRM relies on their sense of smell to orchestrate complex behavioral decisions. Comparative transcriptome analyses revealed the presence of candidate variant ionotropic receptors, odorant binding proteins, niemann-pick proteins type C2 and sensory neuron membrane proteins. Some of these proteins were highly and differentially expressed in the forelegs of PRM. Rhodopsin-like G protein-coupled receptors were also identified, while insect-specific odorant receptors and odorant co-receptors were not detected. Furthermore, using scanning electron microscopy, the tarsomeres of all leg pairs were shown to be equipped with sensilla chaetica with or without tip pores, while wall-pored olfactory sensilla chaetica were restricted to the distal-most tarsomeres of the forelegs. This study is the first to describe the presence of chemosensory genes in any Dermanyssidae family. Our findings make a significant step forward in understanding the chemosensory abilities of D. gallinae.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2020, volume: 10, number: 1, article number: 17923

Authors' information

Bhowmick, Biswajit
Hainan University
Tang, Yu
Hainan University
Lin, Fang
Hainan University
Oines, Oivind
Norwegian Veterinary Institute
Zhao, Jianguo
Hainan University
Liao, Chenghong
Hainan University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology
Hansson, Bill S.
Max Planck Society
Han, Qian
Hainan University

UKÄ Subject classification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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