Expressional divergence of insect GOX genes: From specialist to generalist glucose oxidase

Lihong Yang, Xiongya Wang, Sufen Bai, Xin Li, Shaohua Gu, Chen Zhu Wang, Xianchun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Insect herbivores often secrete glucose oxidase (GOX) onto plants to counteract plant defenses and potential pathogens. Whether generalist herbivores always have significantly higher GOX activities than their specialist counterparts at any comparable stage or conditions and how this is realized remain unknown. To address these two general questions, we subjected larvae of a pair of sister species differed mainly in host range, the generalist Helicoverpa armigera and its specialist counterpart Helicoverpa assulta, to the same sets of stage, protein to digestible carbohydrate (P:C) ratio, allelochemical or host plant treatments for simultaneous analyses of GOX transcripts and activities in their labial glands. GOX activity and transcripts are upregulated concurrently with food ingestion and body growth, downregulated with stopping ingestion and wandering for pupation in both species. The three tested host plants upregulated GOX transcripts, and to a lesser extent, GOX activity in both species. There were significant differences in both GOX transcripts and activity elicited by allelochemicals, but only in GOX transcripts by P:C ratios in both species. GOX activities were higher in H. armigera than H. assulta in all the comparable treatments, but GOX transcripts were significantly higher either in generalists or in specialists, depending on the developmental stages, host plants, P:C ratio and allelochemicals they encounter. These data indicate that the greater GOX activity in generalist herbivores is not achieved by greater transcription rate, but by greater transcript stability, greater translation rate, better enzyme stability and/or their combination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Allelochemicals
  • GOX expression
  • Helicoverpa spp
  • Host plant range
  • P:C ratio
  • Post-transcriptional regulation
  • RNA stability
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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