ProjectInsect cuticle lipid formation and the impact of cuticle lipids on insect ecological adaptability

Basic data

Insect cuticle lipid formation and the impact of cuticle lipids on insect ecological adaptability
1/15/2018 to 1/14/2021
Abstract / short description:
Insect cuticle lipids provide an effective two-sided barrier against dehydration and penetration of xenobiotics ensuring survival under potentially hostile environmental conditions such as high temperature and low humidity. Consequentially, they have a strong impact on insect ecological adaptability. However, research on molecular and genetic aspects of insect cuticle lipid biology is scarce to date. Ultimately, this negligence seriously restricts the development of green ecological control technologies based on cuticle lipids biology. In this proposal, we intend to use the agricultural pest Locusta migratoria (migratory locust) and the model insect Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) to undertake the following fundamental approaches: 1) studying the regional distribution characteristics and composition differences of insect cuticle lipids by using dye penetration assays and applying gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS); 2) revealing the function of genes coding for key enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis using locust RNAi and fly genetics (mutations, RNAi and UAS-Gal4 expression system); 3) combining genetics, histo-chemical staining, microscopic and ultra-structural technologies to analyze the molecular mechanisms of cuticle lipid distribution and the formation of cuticular lipid-transporting pore canals; 4) analyzing the mechanisms of how key genes affect insect ecological adaptability under different ecological conditions. In summary, through these four approaches, we will learn about the molecular mechanisms of cuticle lipid biosynthesis and transport, and understand how the distribution and composition of cuticle lipids together affect insect ecological adaptability. Eventually, our results will contribute to the discovery of new targets for pest control and to the development of a new pest control strategy against the formation and function of cuticle lipids.
insects, Insekten

Involved staff


Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen

Local organizational units

Interfaculty Institute for Cell Biology (IFIZ)
Interfaculty Institutes
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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