Genomic and cytogenetic analysis of the Ceratitis capitata temperature-sensitive lethal region

G. Sollazzo, G. Gouvi, K. Nikolouli, R. A. Aumann, H. Djambazian, M. A. Whitehead, P. Berube, S.-H. Chen, G. Tsiamis, A. C. Darby, J. Ragoussis, M. F. Schetelig and K. Bourtzis,  G3-Genes Genomes Genetics,  13. 2023.

Genetic sexing strains (GSS) are an important tool in support of sterile insect technique (SIT) applications against insect pests and disease vectors. The yet unknown temperature-sensitive lethal (tsl) gene and the recently identified white pupae (wp) gene have been used as selectable markers in the most successful GSS developed so far, the Ceratitis capitata (medfly) VIENNA 8 GSS. The molecular identification of the tsl gene may open the way for its use as a marker for the development of GSS in other insect pests and disease vectors of SIT importance. Prior studies have already shown that the tsl gene is located on the right arm of chromosome 5, between the wp and Zw loci (tsl genomic region). In the present study, we used genomic, transcriptomic, bioinformatic, and cytogenetic approaches to characterize and analyze this genomic region in wild-type and tsl mutant medfly strains. Our results suggested the presence of 561 genes, with 322 of them carrying SNPs and/or insertion–deletion (indel) mutations in the tsl genomic region. Furthermore, comparative transcriptomic analysis indicated the presence of 32 differentially expressed genes, and bioinformatic analysis revealed the presence of 33 orthologs with a described heat-sensitive phenotype of Drosophila melanogaster in this region. These data can be used in functional genetic studies to identify the tsl gene(s) and the causal mutation(s) responsible for the temperature-sensitive lethal phenotype in medfly, and potentially additional genes causing a similar phenotype.

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