, Volume 128, Issue 1, pp 53–67 | Cite as

Gene expression changes elicited by a parasitic B chromosome in the grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans are consistent with its phenotypic effects

  • Beatriz Navarro-Domínguez
  • María Martín-Peciña
  • Francisco J. Ruiz-Ruano
  • Josefa Cabrero
  • José María Corral
  • María Dolores López-León
  • Timothy F. Sharbel
  • Juan Pedro M. CamachoEmail author
Original Article


Parasitism evokes adaptive physiological changes in the host, many of which take place through gene expression changes. This response can be more or less local, depending on the organ or tissue affected by the parasite, or else systemic when the parasite affects the entire host body. The most extreme of the latter cases is intragenomic parasitism, where the parasite is present in all host nuclei as any other genomic element. Here, we show the molecular crosstalk between a parasitic chromosome (also named B chromosome) and the host genome, manifested through gene expression changes. The transcriptome analysis of 0B and 1B females of the grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans, validated by a microarray experiment performed on four B-lacking and five B-carrying females, revealed changes in gene expression for 188 unigenes being consistent in both experiments. Once discarded B-derived transcripts, there were 46 differentially expressed genes (30 up- and 16 downregulated) related with the adaptation of the host genome to the presence of the parasitic chromosome. Interestingly, the functions of these genes could explain some of the most important effects of B chromosomes, such as nucleotypic effects derived from the additional DNA they represent, chemical defense and detoxification, protein modification and response to stress, ovary function, and regulation of gene expression. Collectively, these changes uncover an intimate host-parasite interaction between A and B chromosomes during crucial steps of gene expression and protein function.


B chromosome Gene expression Microarrays qPCR Transcriptome 



We thank Rubén Martín-Blázquez and Mohammed Bakkali for their collaboration on the Illumina transcriptome reads sequencing and first assembly, Marco Pellino for his help on the microarray hybridization step, and Álvaro Enciso for informatics support.

Funding information

This study was funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (CGL2015-70750-P) and was partially performed by FEDER funds. Navarro-Domínguez was supported by a FPI fellowship from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (BES-2010-030016).

Compliance with ethical standards

All experiments comply with the current Spanish laws.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz Navarro-Domínguez
    • 1
    • 2
  • María Martín-Peciña
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Ruiz-Ruano
    • 1
  • Josefa Cabrero
    • 1
  • José María Corral
    • 3
    • 4
  • María Dolores López-León
    • 1
  • Timothy F. Sharbel
    • 3
    • 5
  • Juan Pedro M. Camacho
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Genética, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)Stadt SeelandGermany
  4. 4.Division of BiochemistryFriedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany
  5. 5.Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS)University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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