Mechanisms behind polyphagia in a pest insect: Responses of Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) strains to preferential and alternative larval host plants assessed with gene regulatory networks
This publication in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Gene Regulatory Mechanisms is part of Natália Murad’s PhD in Universidade Estadual de Campinas, in Brazil, under mine and Dr. Marcelo Brandão’s supervision. A dataset of gene expression from FAW was used to understand how gene regulation is related to larval host plant preference. Transcriptomic data of corn and rice strains reared on corn, rice or cotton, were analysed with three different approaches of gene network inference: co-expression, weighted co-expression and Bayesian networks. We identified two loosely interconnected co-expression networks, one of them responsible for fast response to herbivory and anti-herbivory mechanisms and the other related to housekeeping genes, which present slower response to environmental variations. Integrating different levels of information such as gene expression patterns, gene assembly, transcriptomics, relationship among genes and phenotypes, functional relationships, among other information, enabled a wider visualization of S. frugiperda response to diet stimuli.