Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 11, pp 1521–1531 | Cite as

FAR gene enables the brown planthopper to walk and jump on water in paddy field

  • Dan-Ting Li
  • Xuan Chen
  • Xin-Qiu Wang
  • Chuan-Xi ZhangEmail author
Research Paper


Many insects can live on water and survive being caught in the rain. Current research has shown that insect cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC) confer desiccation resistance to maintain water balance. In this study, we identified a fatty acyl-CoA reductase gene (NlFAR) of the rice brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens that is essential for the production of CHCs, and found that NlFAR is essential for N. lugens to walk and jump on water when moving from one rice plant to another in paddy fields. NlFAR was mainly expressed in the integument at the beginning of each molt. Cuticular surface analysis by scanning electron microscopy and characterization of CHC extracts indicated that N. lugens with knockdown of NlFAR using RNA inference (RNAi) had a neater epicuticle layer and a significant decrease in CHC contents. Knockdown of NlFAR did not influence the desiccation resistance of N. lugens, but the dsNlFAR-treated insects were easily adhered and moistened by water droplets or their own secreted honeydew and unable to walk or jump on water. These results suggested that NlFAR is a crucial enzyme for CHC biosynthesis and cuticle waterproofing, but not for water retention of N. lugens, which may provide a potential strategy for pest management.


Nilaparvata lugens fatty acyl-CoA reductase cuticular hydrocarbon waterproofing 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31630057 and 31471765). We thank Dr. Yong-Liang Fan and Nan Chen for their kind help in CHC analysis.

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11427_2018_9462_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (223 kb)
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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan-Ting Li
    • 1
  • Xuan Chen
    • 1
  • Xin-Qiu Wang
    • 1
  • Chuan-Xi Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology and Ministry of Agriculture Key Laboratory of Agricultural Entomology, Institute of Insect ScienceZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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