The immune signaling pathways of Manduca sexta

Xiaolong Cao, Yan He, Yingxia Hu, Yang Wang, Yun Ru Chen, Bart Bryant, Rollie J. Clem, Lawrence M. Schwartz, Gary Blissard, Haobo Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Signal transduction pathways and their coordination are critically important for proper functioning of animal immune systems. Our knowledge of the constituents of the intracellular signaling network in insects mainly comes from genetic analyses in Drosophila melanogaster. To facilitate future studies of similar systems in the tobacco hornworm and other lepidopteran insects, we have identified and examined the homologous genes in the genome of Manduca sexta. Based on 1:1 orthologous relationships in most cases, we hypothesize that the Toll, Imd, MAPK-JNK-p38 and JAK-STAT pathways are intact and operative in this species, as are most of the regulatory mechanisms. Similarly, cellular processes such as autophagy, apoptosis and RNA interference probably function in similar ways, because their mediators and modulators are mostly conserved in this lepidopteran species. We have annotated a total of 186 genes encoding 199 proteins, studied their domain structures and evolution, and examined their mRNA levels in tissues at different life stages. Such information provides a genomic perspective of the intricate signaling system in a non-drosophiline insect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Expression profiling
  • Gene annotation
  • Insect immunity
  • RNA-Seq
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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