MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported to play indispensable roles in regulating various developmental processes via the posttranscriptional repression of target genes in insect species. In the present paper, we studied the miRNAs in Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella (Hübener)), one of the most economically important stored grains pests around the world. In total, 12 small RNA libraries from four developmental stages of P. interpunctella were constructed, and 178 known and 23 novel miRNAs were identified. In addition, the expression profiles of these miRNAs were assessed across different developmental stages and miRNAs that were highly expressed in eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults were identified. Specifically, 100, 61, and 52 miRNAs were differentially expressed between eggs and larvae, larvae and pupae, and pupae and adults, respectively. The KEGG and GO analysis of the predicted target genes suggested the essential roles of miRNAs in the regulation of complex development of P. interpunctella. Importantly, we also found a set of miRNAs might be involved in the larval metamorphic molting process, with their expressions increasing and then decreasing during the larva-pupa-adult stages of P. interpunctella. In conclusion, the current paper has discovered numerous miRNAs, and some key miRNAs that might be responsible for regulating development in P. interpunctella. To our knowledge, this is the first study to document miRNAs and their expression patterns in interpunctella, and those findings would lay an important molecular foundation for future functional analysis of these miRNAs in P. interpunctella.
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Vol. 113 • No. 3