Background The desert locust (EST information is highly complementary to the existing orthopteran transcriptomic data. of information that will be instrumental in further unraveling the molecular principles of phase polyphenism, in further establishing locusts as valuable research model organisms and in molecular evolutionary and comparative entomology. Introduction For many decades, locusts have proven to be important model organisms for insect physiological research, in particular for the study of endocrinological and neurobiological processes. Their relatively large size has enabled the purification and identification of an extensive repertoire of nearly a hundred biologically active regulatory peptides C. Unlike many other insect model species, such as the fruit travel, the honey bee and the silk worm, locusts belong to the hemimetabolous branch of insects. This subgroup comprises insects that undergo an incomplete metamorphosis, lacking the formation of a pupal stage. The rapidly expanding genome and transcriptome data have given research in several holometabolous model insects an unprecedented impetus. Although genome data have recently become available for the hemimetabolous species 1047953-91-2 supplier (pea aphid)  and (human body louse) , sequence information from this branch of insects is still lagging behind. In addition, locusts appear to have a very big genome (estimated 2C3 times larger than the human genome ), which constitutes a major hurdle to completely sequence it. In addition, the desert locust, FAO website: http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/). Intriguingly, the same species can also occur in a more harmless solitarious form, which tends to avoid the company of other locusts. Besides this very prominent behavioral distinction, solitarious and gregarious locusts also differ in many other traits such as coloration, morphology, developmental and reproductive physiology. The presence of these two extremely different forms or phases, also designated as phase polyphenism, is a fascinating example of phenotypic plasticity, whereby two obviously different phenotypes are encoded by the same genome C. [In laboratory conditions the two locust phases are referred to as isolated-reared (solitarious) and crowded-reared (gregarious).] Conversion between the two phases is usually termed phase transition, which is a reversible, continuous process that is accompanied by the occurrence of several intermediate forms , . Development towards the gregarious phase is brought on by an increase in 1047953-91-2 supplier population density. Remarkably, a behavioral shift can be observed from mutual aversion to aggregation within a few hours of crowding C. The central nervous system (CNS) plays a crucial role in these early gregarization effects. Sensory stimuli generated by the presence of other locusts can induce changes in the titers of several neurotransmitters C. The involvement of the CNS is not surprising since it constitutes the primary systemic control center that is integrating sensory input, generates behavioral responses and regulates many physiological processes. In addition, although crowded-reared locusts are on average smaller, their brain was found to 1047953-91-2 supplier be 30% larger than that of isolated-reared animals and to be differently proportionated . Elevated population density leads to increased competition for food and forces the locusts to alter their foraging strategy. Since foraging behavior and social life style have already been associated with differences in the brain volume of insects C, these may also be involved in distinguishing gregarious from solitarious brain size . Furthermore, serotonin has been demonstrated to be a crucial central mediator of the behavioral phase transformation . During the first hours of forced crowding a temporary increase in serotonin has been observed in the thoracic ganglia . However, development towards the gregarious phase is not only characterized by a behavioral shift. In later stages of gregarization (which can comprise several generations) multiple physiological processes are affected. These include reproduction, development and determination of life span , . However, to a great extent, the molecular basis underlying all these phenotypic changes still remains elusive. Therefore, additional sequence information (both nucleotide and protein sequence information) is currently needed to allow further Rabbit polyclonal to AML1.Core binding factor (CBF) is a heterodimeric transcription factor that binds to the core element of many enhancers and promoters. investigations of the mechanisms underlying phase-dependent physiological processes in locusts. In order to compensate for the absence of locust genome data (and for the difficulty to obtain such data, given the huge estimated size of their genome), we have currently produced an EST (Expressed Sequence Tags) database representing transcripts expressed in.