Mutations in the Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ca toxin demonstrate the role of domains II and III in specificity towards Spodoptera exigua larvae.
ABSTRACT: Several mutants of the Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ca toxin affected with regard to specific activity towards Spodoptera exigua were studied. Alanine was used to replace single residues in loops 2 and 3 of domain II (mutant pPB19) and to replace residues 541-544 in domain III (mutant pPB20). Additionally, a Cry1Ca mutant combining all mutations was constructed (mutant pPB21). Toxicity assays showed a marked decrease in toxicity against S. exigua for all mutants, while they retained their activity against Manduca sexta, confirming the importance of these residues in determining insect specificity. Parameters for binding to the specific receptors in BBMV (brush border membrane vesicles) of S. exigua were determined for all toxins. Compared with Cry1Ca, the affinity of mutant pPB19 was slightly affected (2-fold lower), whereas the affinity of the mutants with an altered domain III (pPB20 and pPB21) was approx. 8-fold lower. Activation of Cry1Ca protoxin by incubation with S. exigua or M. sexta BBMV revealed the transient formation of an oligomeric form of Cry1Ca. The presence of this oligomeric form was tested in the activation of the different Cry1Ca mutants, and we found that those mutated in domain II (pPB19 and pPB21) could not generate the oligomeric form when activated by S. exigua BBMV. In contrast, when oligomerization was tested using BBMV prepared from M. sexta, all of the Cry1Ca mutants showed the formation of a similar oligomeric form as did the wild-type toxin. Our results show how modification of insect specificity can be achieved by manipulation of different parts of the toxin structure involved in different steps of the mode of action of B. thuringiensis toxins.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ca is toxic to different Spodoptera species. The aims of this work were to identify the Cry1Ca-binding proteins in S. frugiperda, to provide evidence on their participation in toxicity, and to identify the Cry1Ca amino acid residues involved in receptor binding. Pulldown assays using Spodoptera frugiperda brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) identified aminopeptidase N (APN), APN1, and APN2 isoforms as Cry1Ca-binding proteins. Cry1Ca alanine substitutions in all residues of domain III ?16 were characterized. Two ?16 nontoxic mutants (V505A and S506A) showed a correlative defect on binding to the recombinant S. frugiperda APN1 (SfAPN1). Finally, silencing the expression of APN1 transcript, by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) feeding, showed that silenced larvae are more tolerant of the Cry1Ca toxin, which induced less than 40% mortality in silenced larvae whereas nonsilenced larvae had 100% mortality. Overall, our results show that Cry1Ca relies on APN1 binding through domain III ?16 to impart toxicity to S. frugiperdaIMPORTANCEBacillus thuringiensis Cry toxins rely on receptor binding to exert toxicity. Cry1Ca is toxic to different populations of S. frugiperda, a major corn pest in America. Nevertheless, the S. frugiperda midgut proteins that are involved in Cry1Ca toxicity have not been identified. Here we identified aminopeptidase N1 (APN1) as a functional receptor of Cry1Ca. Moreover, we showed that Cry1Ca domain III ?16 is involved in APN1 binding. These results give insights on potential target sites for improving Cry1Ca toxicity to S. frugiperda.
Project description:Crystal toxin Cry1Ca from Bacillus thuringiensis has an insecticidal spectrum encompassing lepidopteran insects that are tolerant to current commercially used B. thuringiensis crops (Bt crops) expressing Cry1A toxins and may be useful as a potential bioinsecticide. The mode of action of Cry1A is fairly well understood. However, whether Cry1Ca interacts with the same receptor proteins as Cry1A remains unproven. In the present paper, we first cloned a cadherin-like gene, SeCad1b, from Spodoptera exigua (relatively susceptible to Cry1Ca). SeCad1b was highly expressed in the larval gut but scarcely detected in fat body, Malpighian tubules, and remaining carcass. Second, we bacterially expressed truncated cadherin rSeCad1bp and its interspecific homologue rHaBtRp from Helicoverpa armigera (more sensitive to Cry1Ac) containing the putative toxin-binding regions. Competitive binding assays showed that both Cry1Ca and Cry1Ac could bind to rSeCad1bp and rHaBtRp, and they did not compete with each other. Third, Cry1Ca ingestion killed larvae and decreased the weight of surviving larvae. Dietary introduction of SeCad1b double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) reduced approximately 80% of the target mRNA and partially alleviated the negative effect of Cry1Ca on larval survival and growth. Lastly, rSeCad1bp and rHaBtRp differentially enhanced the negative effects of Cry1Ca and Cry1Ac on the larval mortalities and growth of S. exigua and H. armigera. Thus, we provide the first lines of evidence to suggest that SeCad1b from S. exigua is a functional receptor of Cry1Ca.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Insecticidal toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis bind to receptors on midgut epithelial cells of susceptible insect larvae. Aminopeptidases N (APNs) from several insect species have been shown to be putative receptors for these toxins. Here we report the cloning and expression analysis of four APN cDNAs from Spodoptera exigua. RESULTS: Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH) was used to construct cDNA libraries of genes that are up-and down-regulated in the midgut of last instar larvae of beet armyworm, S. exigua exposed to B. thuringiensis Cry1Ca toxin. Among the clones from the SSH libraries, cDNA fragments coding for two different APNs were obtained (APN2 and APN4). A similar procedure was employed to compare mRNA differences between susceptible and Cry1Ca resistant S. exigua. Among the clones from this last comparison, cDNA fragments belonging to a third APN (APN1) were detected. Using sequences obtained from the three APN cDNA fragments and degenerate primers for a fourth APN (APN3), the full length sequences of four S. exigua APN cDNAs were obtained. Northern blot analysis of expression of the four APNs showed complete absence of APN1 expression in the resistant insects, while the other three APNs showed similar expression levels in the resistant and susceptible insects. CONCLUSION: We have cloned and characterized four different midgut APN cDNAs from S. exigua. Expression analysis revealed the lack of expression of one of these APNs in the larvae of a Cry1Ca-resistant colony. Combined with previous evidence that shows the importance of APN in the mode of action of B. thuringiensis toxins, these results suggest that the lack of APN1 expression plays a role in the resistance to Cry1Ca in this S. exigua colony.
Project description:The binding and pore formation properties of four Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1 toxins were analyzed by using brush border membrane vesicles from Spodoptera exigua and Spodoptera frugiperda, and the results were compared to the results of toxicity bioassays. Cry1Fa was highly toxic and Cry1Ac was nontoxic to S. exigua and S. frugiperda larvae, while Cry1Ca was highly toxic to S. exigua and weakly toxic to S. frugiperda. In contrast, Cry1Bb was active against S. frugiperda but only marginally active against S. exigua. Bioassays performed with iodinated Cry1Bb, Cry1Fa, and Cry1Ca showed that the effects of iodination on toxin activity were different. The toxicities of I-labeled Cry1Bb and Cry1Fa against Spodoptera species were significantly less than the toxicities of the unlabeled toxins, while Cry1Ca retained its insecticidal activity when it was labeled with 125I. Binding assays showed that iodination prevented Cry1Fa from binding to Spodoptera brush border membrane vesicles. 125I-labeled Cry1Ac, Cry1Bb, and Cry1Ca bound with high-affinities to brush border membrane vesicles from S. exigua and S. frugiperda. Competition binding experiments performed with heterologous toxins revealed two major binding sites. Cry1Ac and Cry1Fa have a common binding site, and Cry1Bb, Cry1C, and Cry1Fa have a second common binding site. No obvious relationship between dissociation of bound toxins from brush border membrane vesicles and toxicity was detected. Cry1 toxins were also tested for the ability to alter the permeability of membrane vesicles, as measured by a light scattering assay. Cry1 proteins toxic to Spodoptera larvae permeabilized brush border membrane vesicles, but the extent of permeabilization did not necessarily correlate with in vivo toxicity.
Project description:Relatively recent evidence indicates that ABCC2 transporters play a main role in the mode of action of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry1A-type proteins. Mapping of major Cry1A resistance genes has linked resistance to the ABCC2 locus in Heliothis virescens, Plutella xylostella, Trichoplusia ni and Bombyx mori, and mutations in this gene have been found in three of these Bt-resistant strains.We have used a colony of Spodoptera exigua (Xen-R) highly resistant to a Bt commercial bioinsecticide to identify regions in the S. exigua genome containing loci for major resistance genes by using bulk segregant analysis (BSA). Results reveal a region containing three genes from the ABCC family (ABBC1, ABBC2 and ABBC3) and a mutation in one of them (ABBC2) as responsible for the resistance of S. exigua to the Bt commercial product and to its key Spodoptera-active ingredients, Cry1Ca. In contrast to all previously described mutations in ABCC2 genes that directly or indirectly affect the extracellular domains of the membrane protein, the ABCC2 mutation found in S. exigua affects an intracellular domain involved in ATP binding. Functional analyses of ABBC2 and ABBC3 support the role of both proteins in the mode of action of Bt toxins in S. exigua. Partial silencing of these genes with dsRNA decreased the susceptibility of wild type larvae to both Cry1Ac and Cry1Ca. In addition, reduction of ABBC2 and ABBC3 expression negatively affected some fitness components and induced up-regulation of arylphorin and repat5, genes that respond to Bt intoxication and that are found constitutively up-regulated in the Xen-R strain.The current results show the involvement of different members of the ABCC family in the mode of action of B. thuringiensis proteins and expand the role of the ABCC2 transporter in B. thuringiensis resistance beyond the Cry1A family of proteins to include Cry1Ca.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis X022, a novel strain isolated from soil in China, produces diamond-shaped parasporal crystals. Specific mineral nutrients, such as Mg, Cu, and Mn, influence insecticidal crystal proteins (ICP) expression and the effects of these elements vary significantly. However, the molecular mechanisms of the effects caused by mineral elements have yet to be reported.The ICP are mainly composed of Cry1Ca, Cry1Ac, and Cry1Da, which have molecular weights of about 130 kDa. ICP production was most efficient when Cu(2+) was added at concentrations ranging from 10(-6) to 10(-4) mol/L at an initial pH of 8.0. Addition of Cu(2+) also evidently increased the toxicity of fermentation broth to Spodoptera exigua and Helicoverpa armigera. After analyzing changes in proteome and fermentation parameters caused by Cu(2+) addition, we propose that Cu(2+) increases PhaR expression and consequently changes the carbon flow. More carbon sources was used to produce intracellular poly-?-hydroxybutyrate (PHB). Increases in PHB as a storage material bring about increases of ICP production.Bacillus thuringiensis X022 mainly expresses Cry1Ca, Cry1Ac, and Cry1Da. Cu(2+) increases the expression of Cry1Da, Cry1Ca, and also enhances the toxicity of fermentation broth to S. exigua and H. armigera.
Project description:Insecticidal protein genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are expressed by transgenic Bt crops (Bt crops) for effective and environmentally safe pest control. The development of resistance to these insecticidal proteins is considered the most serious threat to the sustainability of Bt crops. Resistance in fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) populations from Puerto Rico to transgenic corn producing the Cry1Fa insecticidal protein resulted, for the first time in the United States, in practical resistance, and Bt corn was withdrawn from the local market. In this study, we used a field-collected Cry1Fa corn-resistant strain (456) of S. frugiperda to identify the mechanism responsible for field-evolved resistance. Binding assays detected reduced Cry1Fa, Cry1Ab, and Cry1Ac but not Cry1Ca toxin binding to midgut brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) from the larvae of strain 456 compared to that from the larvae of a susceptible (Ben) strain. This binding phenotype is descriptive of the mode 1 type of resistance to Bt toxins. A comparison of the transcript levels for putative Cry1 toxin receptor genes identified a significant downregulation (>90%) of a membrane-bound alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which translated to reduced ALP protein levels and a 75% reduction in ALP activity in BBMV from 456 compared to that of Ben larvae. We cloned and heterologously expressed this ALP from susceptible S. frugiperda larvae and demonstrated that it specifically binds with Cry1Fa toxin. This study provides a thorough mechanistic description of field-evolved resistance to a transgenic Bt crop and supports an association between resistance and reduced Cry1Fa toxin binding and levels of a putative Cry1Fa toxin receptor, ALP, in the midguts of S. frugiperda larvae.
Project description:The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) produces a wide range of toxins that are effective against a number of insect pests. Identifying the mechanisms responsible for resistance to Bt toxin will improve both our ability to control important insect pests and our understanding of bacterial toxicology. In this study, we investigated the role of MAPK pathways in resistance against Cry1Ca toxin in Chilo suppressalis, an important lepidopteran pest of rice crops. We first cloned the full-length of C. suppressalis mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38, ERK1, and ERK2, and a partial sequence of JNK (hereafter Csp38, CsERK1, CsERK2 and CsJNK). We could then measure the up-regulation of these MAPK genes in larvae at different times after ingestion of Cry1Ca toxin. Using RNA interference to knockdown Csp38, CsJNK, CsERK1 and CsERK2 showed that only knockdown of Csp38 significantly increased the mortality of larvae to Cry1Ca toxin ingested in either an artificial diet, or after feeding on transgenic rice expressed Cry1Ca. These results suggest that MAPK p38 is responsible for the resistance of C. suppressalis larvae to Bt Cry1Ca toxin.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) produces pore forming toxins that have been used for pest control in agriculture for many years. However, their molecular and cellular mode of action is still unclear. While a first model - referred to as the pore forming model - is the most widely accepted scenario, a second model proposed that toxins could trigger an Mg2+-dependent intracellular signalling pathway leading to cell death. Although Cry1Ca has been shown to form ionic pores in the plasma membrane leading to cell swelling and death, we investigated the existence of other cellular or molecular events involved in Cry1Ca toxicity. The Sf9 insect cell line, derived from Spodoptera frugiperda, is highly and specifically sensitive to Cry1Ca. Through a selection program we developed various levels of laboratory-evolved Cry1Ca-resistant Sf9 cell lines. Using a specific S. frugiperda microarray we performed a comparative transcriptomic analysis between sensitive and resistant cells and revealed genes differentially expressed in resistant cells and related to cation-dependent signalling pathways. Ion chelators protected sensitive cells from Cry1Ca toxicity suggesting the necessity of both Ca2+ and/or Mg2+ for toxin action. Selected cells were highly resistant to Cry1Ca while toxin binding onto their plasma membrane was not affected. This suggested a resistance mechanism different from the classical 'loss of toxin binding'. We observed a correlation between Cry1Ca cytotoxicity and the increase of intracellular cAMP levels. Indeed, Sf9 sensitive cells produced high levels of cAMP upon toxin stimulation, while Sf9 resistant cells were unable to increase their intracellular cAMP. Together, these results provide new information about the mechanism of Cry1Ca toxicity and clues to potential resistance factors yet to discover.
Project description:A 65 kDa GPI (glycosylphosphatidyl-inositol)-anchored ALP (alkaline phosphatase) was characterized as a functional receptor of the Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis Cry11Aa toxin in Aedes aegypti midgut cells. Two (a 100 kDa and a 65 kDa) GPI-anchored proteins that bound Cry11Aa toxin were preferentially extracted after treatment of BBMV (brush boder membrane vesicles) from Ae. aegypti midgut epithelia with phospholipase C. The 65 kDa protein was further purified by toxin affinity chromatography. The 65 kDa protein showed ALP activity. The peptide-displaying phages (P1.BBMV and P8.BBMV) that bound to the 65 kDa GPI-ALP (GPI-anchored ALP) and competed with the Cry11Aa toxin to bind to BBMV were isolated by selecting BBMV-binding peptide-phages by biopanning. GPI-ALP was shown to be preferentially distributed in Ae. aegypti in the posterior part of the midgut and in the caeca, by using P1.BBMV binding to fixed midgut tissue sections to determine the location of GPI-ALP. Cry11Aa binds to the same regions of the midgut and competed with P1.BBMV and P8.BBMV to bind to BBMV. The importance of this interaction was demonstrated by the in vivo attenuation of Cry11Aa toxicity in the presence of these phages. Our results shows that GPI-ALP is an important receptor molecule involved in Cry11Aa interaction with midgut cells and toxicity to Ae. aegypti larvae.