Polar Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 357–370 | Cite as

Sex- and developmental-specific transcriptomic analyses of the Antarctic mite, Alaskozetes antarcticus, reveal transcriptional shifts underlying oribatid mite reproduction

  • Hannah E. Meibers
  • Geoffrey Finch
  • Robert T. Gregg
  • Sierra Glenn
  • Keavash D. Assani
  • Emily C. Jennings
  • Benjamin Davies
  • Andrew J. Rosendale
  • Christopher J. Holmes
  • J. D. Gantz
  • Drew E. Spacht
  • Richard E. LeeJr.
  • David L. Denlinger
  • Matthew T. Weirauch
  • Joshua B. BenoitEmail author
Original Paper


The oribatid mite Alaskozetes antarcticus, one of the most abundant terrestrial invertebrates in Antarctica, survives extreme temperature fluctuation and desiccation, and thrives in the short growing season characteristic of this polar environment. Several aspects of the mite’s ecology and physiology are well studied, but little is known about its reproduction. In this study, we utilize sex- and development-specific next-generation RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses to identify differentially regulated transcripts underlying reproduction of A. antarcticus. Pairwise comparisons between males, females, and tritonymphs revealed more than 4000 enriched transcripts based on different transcriptional levels among sexes and developmental stages. More than 500 of these enriched transcripts were differentially upregulated over 1000-fold. Many of the highly enriched and sex-specific transcripts were previously uncharacterized or have no known orthology. Of the transcripts identified, gene ontology-based analyses linked the transcriptional distinctions to differences in reproduction, chemosensation, and stress response. Our comparative approach allowed us to determine sexually dimorphic transcript expression in A. antarcticus. We anticipate that this study will provide a baseline to better understand the mechanisms that underlie reproduction in both polar and non-polar oribatid mites.


RNA-seq Reproduction Testis-specific serine/threonine protein kinases Mite Antarctic reproductive biology 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF PLR 1341385 and NSF PLR 1341393 with partial support for equipment in DEB-1654417) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agricultural Grant (2016-67012-24652). We are grateful for the hard work and assistance of the support staff at Palmer Station and the CCHMC Sequencing Core.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

300_2018_2427_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Online Resource 1. Primers used for PCR and qPCR analyses. Electronic supplementary material 1 (XLSX 13 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (1 mb)
Online Resource 2. List of contigs with enriched expression in males at 20-fold expression compared to tritonymphs and females. Electronic supplementary material 6 (XLSX 1035 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (47 kb)
Online Resource 3. List of contigs with enriched expression in females at 20-fold expression compared to tritonymphs and males. Electronic supplementary material 7 (XLSX 47 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (67 kb)
Online Resource 4. List of contigs with enriched expression in tritonymphs at 20-fold expression compared to females and males. Electronic supplementary material 8 (XLSX 67 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM5_ESM.xlsx (64 kb)
Online Resource 5. Gene ontology analyses with Blast2GO for contigs enriched within the males compared to tritonymphs and females based on data from Online Resource 2. Electronic supplementary material 9 (XLSX 64 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Online Resource 6. Gene ontology analyses with Blast2GO for contigs enriched within females compared to tritonymphs and males based on data from Online Resource 3. Electronic supplementary material 10 (XLSX 13 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM7_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Online Resource 7. Gene ontology analyses with Blast2GO for contigs enriched within tritonymphs compared to males and females based on data from Online Resource 4. Electronic supplementary material 11 (XLSX 11 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM8_ESM.xlsx (18 kb)
Online Resource 8. Contigs matching transcription factors with two-fold higher expression in males compared to females and tritonymphs. Electronic supplementary material 12 (XLSX 18 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM9_ESM.xlsx (20 kb)
Online Resource 9. Contigs matching transcription factors with two-fold higher expression in females compared to males and tritonymphs. Electronic supplementary material 13 (XLSX 20 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM10_ESM.xlsx (45 kb)
Online Resource 10. Female-specific contigs identified by overlapping sex-specific RNA-seq analyses between the bulb mite Rhizoglyphus robini and the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. Electronic supplementary material 2 (XLSX 45 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM11_ESM.xlsx (20 kb)
Online Resource 11. Male-specific contigs identified by overlapping sex-specific RNA-seq analyses between the bulb mite Rhizoglyphus robini and the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. Electronic supplementary material 3 (XLSX 20 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM12_ESM.xlsx (225 kb)
Online Resource 12. Male-specific contigs identified by overlapping orthology analyses between Ixodes scapularis (Gulia-Nuss et al. 2016), Metaseiulus occidentalis (Hoy et al. 2016), Sarcoptes scabiei (Rider et al. 2015), Tetranychus urticae (Grbić et al. 2011), and Varroa destructor (Cornman et al. 2010). Electronic supplementary material 4 (XLSX 225 kb)
300_2018_2427_MOESM13_ESM.xlsx (16 kb)
Online Resource 13. Female-specific contigs identified by overlapping orthology analyses between Ixodes scapularis (Gulia-Nuss et al. 2016), Metaseiulus occidentalis (Hoy et al. 2016), Sarcoptes scabiei (Rider et al. 2015), Tetranychus urticae (Grbić et al. 2011), and Varroa destructor (Cornman et al. 2010). Electronic supplementary material 5 (XLSX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah E. Meibers
    • 1
  • Geoffrey Finch
    • 1
  • Robert T. Gregg
    • 1
  • Sierra Glenn
    • 1
  • Keavash D. Assani
    • 1
  • Emily C. Jennings
    • 1
  • Benjamin Davies
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Rosendale
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Holmes
    • 1
  • J. D. Gantz
    • 2
  • Drew E. Spacht
    • 3
  • Richard E. LeeJr.
    • 2
  • David L. Denlinger
    • 3
  • Matthew T. Weirauch
    • 4
    • 5
  • Joshua B. Benoit
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Entomology and Evolution, Ecology and Organismal BiologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology and Divisions of Biomedical Informatics and Developmental BiologyCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Cincinnati College of MedicineCincinnatiUSA

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