Red and black: A β-carotene-binding protein carrying a red pigment regulates body-color transition in locusts [article]

Meiling Yang, Yanli Wang, Qing Liu, Zhikang Liu, Feng Jiang, Huimin Wang, Xiaojiao Guo, Jianzhen Zhang, Le Kang
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
AbstractChanges of body color have important effects for animals in adapting to variable environments. The migratory locust exhibits body color polyphenism between solitary and gregarious individuals, with the former displaying a uniform green coloration and the latter having a prominent pattern of black dorsal and brown ventral surface. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the density-dependent body color changes of conspecific locusts remain largely unknown. Here, we found that up
more » ... found that up regulation of β-carotene-binding protein promotes the accumulation of red pigment, which added to the green color palette present in solitary locusts changes it from green to black, and that down regulation of this protein led to the reverse, changing the color of gregarious locusts from black to green. Our results provide insight that color changes of locusts are dependent on variation in the red β-carotene pigment binding to βCBP. This finding of animal coloration corresponds with trichromatic theory of color vision.
doi:10.1101/422212 fatcat:6jqe7zoebnc7zb7k7mftdw3iky