Transcriptome profiling of ontogeny in the acridid grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus

Emma L Berdan, Jonas Finck, Paul R Johnston, Isabelle Waurick, Camila J Mazzoni, Frieder Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Acridid grasshoppers (Orthoptera:Acrididae) are widely used model organisms for developmental, evolutionary, and neurobiological research. Although there has been recent influx of orthopteran transcriptomic resources, many use pooled ontogenetic stages obscuring information about changes in gene expression during development. Here we developed a de novo transcriptome spanning 7 stages in the life cycle of the acridid grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus. Samples from different stages encompassing embryonic development through adults were used for transcriptomic profiling, revealing patterns of differential gene expression that highlight processes in the different life stages. These patterns were validated with semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Embryonic development showed a strongly differentiated expression pattern compared to all of the other stages and genes upregulated in this stage were involved in signaling, cellular differentiation, and organ development. Our study is one of the first to examine gene expression during post-embryonic development in a hemimetabolous insect and we found that only the fourth and fifth instars had clusters of genes upregulated during these stages. These genes are involved in various processes ranging from synthesis of biogenic amines to chitin binding. These observations indicate that post-embryonic ontogeny is not a continuous process and that some instars are differentiated. Finally, genes upregulated in the imago were generally involved in aging and immunity. Our study highlights the importance of looking at ontogeny as a whole and indicates promising directions for future research in orthopteran development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0177367
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Animals
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Computational Biology/methods
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Grasshoppers/genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Transcriptome


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