Manual curation and phylogenetic analysis of chitinase family genes in the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri

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Chitinases are enzymes that digest the polysaccharide polymer chitin. During insect development, breakdown of chitin is an essential step in molting of the exoskeleton. Knockdown of chitinases required for molting is lethal to insects, making chitinase genes an interesting target for RNAi-based pest control methods. The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri, carries the bacterium causing Huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, a devastating citrus disease. We identified and annotated 12 chitinase family genes from D. citri as part of a community effort to create high-quality gene models to aid the design of interdictory molecules for pest control. We categorized the D. citri chitinases according to an established classification scheme and re-evaluated the classification of chitinases in other hemipterans. In addition to chitinases from known groups, we identified a novel class of chitinases present in D. citri and several related hemipterans that appears to be the result of horizontal gene transfer.

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  1. Chitinases

    **Reviewer 2. Hai-Zhong Yu. **

    Additional Comments. The manuscript presented by Shippy et al. revealed that chitinase family genes in Diaphorina citri. Chitin is widely distributed in nature and serves a variety of functions. In insects, chitin is a major structural component of the cuticle and peritrophic membrane, and plays an important role in molting; thus, chitin metabolism related genes can serve as a desired target for pest control. As described in background, chitinase plays an important role involved in digesting the polysaccharide polymer chitin. In the current study, the authors identified and annotated 12 chitinase family genes from D. citri and performed phylogenetic analysis. Additionally, the structural domains and expression patterns of D. citri chitinase genes were analyzed. In general, the manuscript can provide some useful information for D. citri control. This manuscript can be accepted after solving the following questions. 1. According to Table 1, 12 chitinases were identified, including CHT3, CHT5-7, CHT10-1, CHT10-2, CHT11, IDGF1-3, ENGase and CHTPE. However, CHT1-2, CHT4 and CHT8-9 seem to be missing. Please give a proper explain. 2. I suggested that the author should verify the expression levels of these chitinase genes by qPCR or Western blot.

  2. Abstract

    This work has been published in GigaByte under a CC-BY 4.0 license (, and has published the reviews under the same license. These are as follows.

    **Reviewer 1. Mary Ann Tuli **

    Are all data available and do they match the descriptions in the paper?

    As with the other manuscripts, OGS v3 is mentioned, but this is not get available from the CGEN. The data underlying table 4 and Fig 3 are available.

    Additional Comments: This manuscript is a comprehensive description of the manual curation of the chitinase family genes, with clear aims and methodology.