Location: Biological Control of Insects Research
Title: Finding the Continuum Between Nutritional Needs and Feeding Processes Authors
Submitted to: International Auchenorrhyncha Congress
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2005
Publication Date: August 7, 2005
Citation: Coudron, T.A., Hunter, W.B., Labavitch, J.M. 2005. Finding the continuum between nutritional needs and feeding processes [abstract]. International Auchenorrhyncha Congress. p. 8-10. Technical Abstract: Nutrient acquisition is comprised of a continuum of events, starting with a nutritional need and ending with nutrient intake. Animals possess the ability to manipulate their nutrient intake in order to redress nutritional imbalances. When an animal is presented with a suboptimal diet, it compensates for the reduced nutritional quality in order to stabilize activities critical to development and thereby minimizes the impact of suboptimal nutrition. One way to demonstrate the plasticity involved in nutrient retrieval is to observe genomic and biochemical changes that take place when the quality of diet is altered. Genomic and proteomic technologies (which measure alterations in global gene expression patterns within living organisms) are particularly well-suited for finding those gene and protein events associated with compensation responses. For their entry into this research arena Coudron et al., are using genomics and proteomics to analyze biological processes associated with nutrition in order to identify differentially expressed genes in prey- and diet-fed insects. Employing a novel approach, Hunter et al., are constructing expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries from salivary glands and midgut tissues of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca coagulata (Say), as a way to identify specific genes within the insect. Labavitch et al., have studied insect salivary digestive activity in order to understand the impact of insect herbivory on plants. Collectively, these studies will enable researchers to evaluate gene functions in protein production necessary for insect feeding and digestion. As a result of diet-induced changes in gene expression, insects modify the type and amount of substances used for digestion. In a similar manner, plants respond to insect feeding by producing defensive substances to counteract the insect. All the while, we as researchers make incremental observations about this dynamic continuum, in an attempt to understand and appreciate the full interaction.