Antennal transcriptome sequencing and identification of candidate chemoreceptor proteins from an invasive pest, the American palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum.

Francisco Gonzalez, Jibin Johny, William B Walker, Qingtian Guan, Sara Mfarrej, Jernej Jakše, Nicolas Montagné, Emmanuelle Jacquin-Joly, Abdulaziz A Alqarni, Mohammed Ali Al-Saleh, Arnab Pain, Binu Antony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


For decades, the American palm weevil (APW), Rhynchophorus palmarum, has been a threat to coconut and oil palm production in the Americas. It has recently spread towards North America, endangering ornamental palms, and the expanding date palm production. Its behavior presents several parallelisms with a closely related species, R. ferrugineus, the red palm weevil (RPW), which is the biggest threat to palms in Asia and Europe. For both species, semiochemicals have been used for management. However, their control is far from complete. We generated an adult antennal transcriptome from APW and annotated chemosensory related gene families to obtain a better understanding of these species' olfaction mechanism. We identified unigenes encoding 37 odorant-binding proteins (OBPs), ten chemosensory proteins (CSPs), four sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs), seven gustatory receptors (GRs), 63 odorant receptors (ORs), and 28 ionotropic receptors (IRs). Noticeably, we find out the R. ferrugineus pheromone-binding protein and pheromone receptor orthologs from R. palmarum. Candidate genes identified and annotated in this study allow us to compare these palm weevils' chemosensory gene sets. Most importantly, this study provides the foundation for functional studies that could materialize as novel pest management strategies.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 16 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-04-19
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1020-01-01, OSR-2018-RPW-3816-4, OSR-2018-RPW-3816-1, BAS/1/1020-01-01
Acknowledgements: This research has been funded by KAUST, Saudi Arabia (Grant Nos. OSR-2018-RPW-3816-1 to BA and AP and OSR-2018-RPW-3816-4 to EJJ and NM). The authors are grateful to the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Saud University, for funding through the Vice Deanship of Scientific Research Chairs. The authors thank Anne-Francoise J. Lamblin and T. A. Abrajano of KAUST-OSR for their invaluable support. The transcriptome data were generated using faculty baseline funding from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to AP (BAS/1/1020-01-01). We thank Palma Tica Company for allowing us to collect the weevils from their plantations. Similarly, we express our gratitude towards Prof. Randall Chacón and Prof. David García from Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica to assist with insect handling and dissection of the specimens. JJ is grateful for the researcher stipend and training provided by the KSU-CDPR. Finally, we thank Dr. Martin Andersson, from Lund University, to provide chemosensory sequences files from other coleopteran species.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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