Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 159–176 | Cite as

Comparative transcriptomes and reciprocal best hit analysis revealed potential pigment genes in two color forms of Tetranychus urticae

  • Yi-Dan Mo
  • Si-Xia Yang
  • Jing-Yu Zhao
  • Peng-Yu Jin
  • Xiao-Yue HongEmail author


Tetranychus urticae Koch is a worldwide agricultural pest. There are two color forms: red and green. The molecular mechanism underlying this color variation is unknown. To elucidate the mechanism, we characterized differentially expressed pigment pathway genes shared in the transcriptomes of these two forms using RNA sequencing and reciprocal best hit analysis. Differentially expressed pigment pathway genes were determined by qRT-PCR to confirm the accuracy of RNA-Seq. The transcriptomes revealed 963 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), of which 687 DEGs were higher in the green form. KEGG enrichment analysis revealed carotenoid biosynthesis genes in T. urticae. Reciprocal best hit analysis revealed 817 putative pigment pathway genes, 38 of which were differentially expressed and mainly classified into four categories: heme, melanin, ommochrome and rhodopsin. Phylogenetic analysis of homologous ommochrome genes showed that tetur09g01950 is closely related to Ok. This study revealed putative pigment pathway genes in the two forms of T. urticae, and might provide a new resource for understanding the mechanism of color variation.


Transcriptomes Pigment Coloration variation Tetranychus urticae 



We thank Professor Tetsuo Gotoh of Ibaraki University, Japan for providing spider mite samples, and Wei Deng, Xue Xia and Lei Chen of Nanjing Agricultural University, China for collecting spider mite samples. This work was supported by a Grant-in-aid from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31672035, 31371944), and a Grant-in-aid (No. 2016YFC1201200) from the National Key Research and Development Project of China.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi-Dan Mo
    • 1
  • Si-Xia Yang
    • 2
  • Jing-Yu Zhao
    • 1
  • Peng-Yu Jin
    • 1
  • Xiao-Yue Hong
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Energy and Environment ScienceYunnan Normal UniversityKunmingChina

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