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Silencing chitin deacetylase 2 impairs larval-pupal and pupal-adult molts in Leptinotarsa decemlineata.

Wu JJ, Chen ZC, Wang YW, Fu KY, Guo WC, Li GQ. Insect Mol Biol. 2019;28(1):52-64.

Insect chitin deacetylases (CDAs) are carbohydrate esterases that catalyze N-deacetylation of chitin to generate chitosan, a process essential for chitin organization and compactness during the formation of extracellular chitinous structure. Here we identified two CDA2 splice variants (LdCDA2a and LdCDA2b) in Leptinotarsa decemlineata. Both splices were abundantly expressed in larval foregut, rectum, and epidermis; their levels peaked immediately before ecdysis within each instar. In vivo results revealed that the two isoforms transcriptionally responded, positively and negatively respectively, to 20-hydroxyecdysone and juvenile hormone signaling pathways. RNA interference (RNAi)-aided knockdown of the two LdCDA2 variants (hereafter LdCDA2) or LdCDA2b, rather than LdCDA2a, resulted in three negative effects. First, foliage consumption was significantly reduced, larval developing period was lengthened, and larval growth was retarded. Second, chitin contents were reduced, whereas glucose, trehalose, and glycogen contents were increased in the LdCDA2 and LdCDA2b RNAi larvae. Third, approximately 20% of LdCDA2 and LdCDA2b RNAi larvae were trapped within the exuviae and finally died. About 60% of the abnormal pupae died as pharate adults. Around 20% of the RNAi pupae emerged as deformed adults, with small size and wrinkled wings. These adults eventually died within 1 week after molting. Our results reveal that knockdown of CDA2 affects chitin accumulation. Consequently, LdCDA2 may be a potential target for control of L. decemlineata larvae.