International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 125–131 | Cite as

Biochemical changes in developing embryos of Schistocerca gregaria (Orthoptera: Acrididae) induced by pheromone produced by ovipositing gregarious females

  • Fathiya M. KhamisEmail author
  • Paul O. Mireji
  • Ellie O. Osir
  • Mabel O. Imbuga
  • Ahmed Hassanali


Trans-generational transfer of gregarious-phase traits in the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål, 1775) is mediated by primer gregarizing pheromonal signals produced by ovipositing females that experience crowding. We monitored time-course proteomic events in eggs from solitary-reared locusts that had been exposed for 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12 days to different levels of the sand-associated gregarizing signal originating from 0, 3, 5 or 10 ovipositions by crowd-reared females. Evidence for the phase transition was sought by comparing the protein patterns of embryos thus exposed with those from crowd-reared (gregarious) controls; this comparison was continued until the stage of the first instars. Expressed proteins were analysed by two-dimensional protein gel electrophoresis, and patterns from the different treatments within stages were compared by profile matching and χ2 analyses. Eggs derived from crowd- and solitary-reared females showed essentially similar protein patterns at early stages of embryogenesis; however, mature stages (particularly, days 10 and 12) and hatchlings demonstrated significantly different patterns. Protein patterns of eggs from solitary-reared females that were incubated in sand contaminated with the pheromonal signal and of the hatchlings that emerged were similar to those derived from gregarious females and dependent on the level of the pheromone to which the embryos had been exposed. The results confirm the gregarizing effect of the signal and constitute a useful basis for unravelling the mechanism of the signalling cascades associated with gene expressions triggered by the pheromone.

Key words

Schistocerca gregaria primer gregarizing pheromone phase transition 2D protein patterns 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fathiya M. Khamis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul O. Mireji
    • 3
  • Ellie O. Osir
    • 1
  • Mabel O. Imbuga
    • 4
  • Ahmed Hassanali
    • 5
  1. 1.The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)NairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyKenyatta UniversityNairobiKenya
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyEgerton UniversityEgertonKenya
  4. 4.Department of BiochemistryJomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and TechnologyNairobiKenya
  5. 5.Department of ChemistryKenyatta UniversityNairobiKenya

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