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Fraser JD, Bonnett TR, Keeling CI, Huber DP.2016. Seasonal shifts in accumulation of glycerol biosynthetic gene transcripts in mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), larvae. PeerJ Preprints4:e2311v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.2311v1
Winter mortality is a major factor regulating population size of the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Glycerol is the major cryoprotectant in this freeze intolerant insect. We report findings from a gene expression study on an overwintering mountain pine beetle population over the course of 35 weeks. mRNA transcript levels suggest glycerol production in the mountain pine beetle occurs through glycogenolytic, gluconeogenic and potentially glyceroneogenic pathways, but not from metabolism of lipids. A two-week lag period between fall glycogen phosphorylase transcript and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase transcript up-regulation suggests that gluconeogenesis serves as a secondary glycerol-production process, subsequent to exhaustion of the primary glycogenolytic source. These results provide a first look at the details of seasonal gene expression related to the production of glycerol in the mountain pine beetle.