Seminal fluid proteins (SFPs) are produced mainly in the accessory gland of male insects and transferred to females during mating, in which they induce numerous physiological and post-mating behavioral changes. The brown plant hopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens, is an economically important hemipterous pest of rice. The behavior and physiology of the female of this species is significantly altered by mating. SFPs in hemipteran species are still unclear.
We applied high-throughput mass spectrometry proteomic analyses to characterize the SFP composition in N. lugens. We identified 94 putative secreted SFPs, and the expression levels of these proteins was determined from the male accessory gland digital gene expression database. The 94 predicted SFPs showed high expression in the male accessory gland. Comparing N. lugens and other insect SFPs, the apparent expansion of N. lugens seminal fluid trypsins and carboxylesterases was observed. The number of N. lugens seminal fluid trypsins (20) was at least twice that in other insects. We detected 6 seminal fluid carboxylesterases in N. lugens seminal fluid, while seminal fluid carboxylesterases were rarely detected in other insects. Otherwise, new insect SFPs, including mesencephalic astrocyte–derived neurotrophic factor, selenoprotein, EGF (epidermal growth factor) domain–containing proteins and a neuropeptide ion transport-like peptide were identified.
This work represents the first characterization of putative SFPs in a hemipeteran species. Our results provide a foundation for future studies to investigate the functions of SFPs in N. lugens and are an important addition to the available data for comparative studies of SFPs in insects.