Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ca-resistant Spodoptera exigua lacks expression of one of four Aminopeptidase N genes.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal toxins have been globally utilized for control of agricultural insects through spraying or transgenic crops. Binding of Bt toxins to special receptors on midgut epithelial cells of target insects is a key step in the mode of action. Previous studies suggested aminopeptidase N1 (APN1) as a receptor or putative receptor in several lepidopteran insects including Helicoverpa armigera through evidence from RNA interefence-based gene silencing approaches. In the current study we tested the role of APNs in the mode of action of Bt toxins using clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9-mediated gene knockout. Three APN genes (HaAPN1, HaAPN2 and HaAPN5) were individually knocked out in a susceptible strain (SCD) of H. armigera to establish three homozygous knockout strains. Qualitative in vitro binding studies indicated binding of Cry1Ac or Cry2Ab to midgut brush border membrane vesicles was not obviously affected by APN knockout. Bioassay results showed that none of the three knockouts had significant changes in susceptibility to Cry1A or Cry2A toxins when compared with the SCD strain. This suggests that the three HaAPN genes we tested may not be critical in the mode of action of Cry1A or Cry2A toxins in H. armigera.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal crystal proteins bind to cell-surface receptors which represent a family of aminopeptidases [APN (aminopeptidase N)] present on the brush border membrane of insect midgut cells of susceptible insects leading to pore formation and death of the insect. We report here for the first time the presence of a novel APN in the fat body of the moth Achaea janata. Northern blotting detected at least one APN-specific transcript in the fat body, whereas two transcripts of different sizes were detected in the midgut. We have cloned two full-length APN cDNAs of 3015 bp and 2850 bp from fat body and midgut respectively, which encode proteins of 1004 and 950 amino acids. These two APNs share only 33% amino acid sequence identity, but both display the typical APN features, such as the N-terminal signal peptide, several putative glycosylation sites, C-terminal glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor signal, the APN-specific zinc-binding/gluzincin motif HEXXHX(18)E and gluzincin motif GAMENWG. The fat body APN manifested a variation in its expression with respect to tissue and developmental stage. In spite of the abundance of the APN transcript in the fat body, fairly low APN activity was detected in this tissue. The fat-body- and midgut-specific APNs showed differential interaction with various Cry1A toxins. Besides, the level of toxicity of different Cry subtypes varied enormously with mode/site of delivery, such as intrahaemocoelic injections and feeding bioassays. These data indicate that the fat body might be a potential alternative Cry toxin target site in the moth.
Project description:Aminopeptidase-N (APN1) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) proteins located in the midgut epithelium of Manduca sexta have been implicated as receptors for Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, and Cry1Ac insecticidal proteins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki. In this study, we analyzed the roles of ALP and APN1 in the toxicity of these three Cry1A proteins. Ligand blot analysis using brush border membrane vesicles of M. sexta showed that Cry1Aa and Cry1Ab bind preferentially to ALP during early instars while binding to APN was observed after the third instar of larval development. Cry1Ac binds to APN throughout all larval development, with no apparent binding to ALP. ALP was cloned from M. sexta midgut RNA and expressed in Escherichia coli. Surface plasmon resonance binding analysis showed that recombinant ALP binds to Cry1Ac with 16-fold lower affinity than to Cry1Aa or Cry1Ab. Downregulation of APN1 and ALP expression by RNA interference (RNAi) using specific double-stranded RNA correlated with a reduction of transcript and protein levels. Toxicity analysis of the three Cry1A proteins in ALP- or APN1-silenced larvae showed that Cry1Aa relies similarly on both receptor molecules for toxicity. In contrast, RNAi experiments showed that ALP is more important than APN for Cry1Ab toxicity, while Cry1Ac relied principally on APN1. These results indicated that ALP and APN1 have a differential role in the mode of action of Cry1A toxins, suggesting that B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki produces different Cry1A toxins that in conjunction target diverse midgut proteins to exert their insecticidal effect.
Project description:Understanding how insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) interact with their hosts is crucial to fully explain the molecular bases of Bt specificity and insecticidal activity. Previous studies support ATP binding cassette transporters (ABCC2/3) and one cadherin-like protein are Cry1Ac functional receptors in the beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua). In this study, a combined one-dimensional gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting approach identified aminopeptidase N (APNs) as putative Cry1Ac binding proteins in the midgut brush border membrane of S. exigua larvae. Functional analyses by gene silencing of six different S. exigua APN genes (SeAPN1, SeAPN2, SeAPN3, SeAPN4, SeAPN5 and SeAPN6) showed that only suppression of SeAPN1 resulted in decreased larval susceptibility to Cry1Ac toxin. These results support that SeAPN1 plays important functional role in Cry1Ac toxicity in S. exigua.
Project description:Helicoverpa armigera midgut proteins that bind the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) delta-endotoxin Cry1Ac were purified by affinity chromatography. SDS-PAGE showed that several proteins were eluted with N-acetylgalactosamine and no further proteins were detected after elution with urea. Tandem mass spectral data for tryptic peptides initially indicated that the proteins resembled aminopeptidases (APNs) from other lepidopterans and cDNA sequences for seven APNs were isolated from H. armigera through a combination of cloning with primers derived from predicted peptide sequences and established EST libraries. Phylogenetic analysis showed lepidopteran APN genes in nine clades of which five were part of a lepidopteran-specific radiation. The Cry1Ac-binding proteins were then identified with four of the seven HaAPN genes. Three of those four APNs are likely orthologs of APNs characterised as Cry1Ac-binding proteins in other lepidopterans. The fourth Cry1Ac-binding APN has orthologs not previously identified as Cry1Ac-binding partners. The HaAPN genes were expressed predominantly in the midgut through larval development. Each showed consistent expression along the length of the midgut but five of the genes were expressed at levels about two orders of magnitude greater than the remaining two. The remaining mass spectral data identified sequences encoding polycalin proteins with multiple lipocalin-like domains. A polycalin has only been previously reported in another lepidopteran, Bombyx mori, but polycalins in both species are now linked with binding of Bt Cry toxins. This is the first report of hybrid, lipocalin-like domains in shorter polycalin sequences that are not present in the longest sequence. We propose that these hybrid domains are generated by alternative splicing of the mRNA.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) is widely used for the biological control of mosquito populations. However, the mechanism of Bti toxins is still not fully understood. To further elucidate the mechanism of Bti toxins, we developed an Aedes aegypti resistant strain that shows high-level resistance to Cry11Aa toxin. After 27 selections with Cry11Aa toxin, the larvae showed a 124-fold resistance ratio for Cry11Aa (strain G30). G30 larvae showed cross-resistance to Cry4Aa (66-fold resistance), less to Cry4Ba (13-fold), but not to Cry11Ba (2-fold). Midguts from these resistant larvae did not show detectable difference in the processing of the Cry11Aa toxin compared to that in susceptible larvae (WT). Brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) from resistant larvae bound slightly less Cry11Aa compared to WT BBMV. To identify potential proteins associated with Cry11A resistance, not only transcript changes in the larval midgut were analyzed using Illumina sequencing and qPCR, but alterations of previously identified receptor proteins were investigated using immunoblots. The transcripts of 375 genes were significantly increased and those of 208 genes were down regulated in the resistant larvae midgut compared to the WT. None of the transcripts for previously identified receptors of Cry11Aa (Aedes cadherin, ALP1, APN1, and APN2) were altered in these analyses. The genes for the identified functional receptors in resistant larvae midgut did not contain any mutation in their sequences nor was there any change in their transcript expression levels compared to WT. However, ALP proteins were expressed at reduced levels (? 40%) in the resistant strain BBMV. APN proteins and their activity were also slightly reduced in resistance strain. The transcript levels of ALPs (AAEL013330 and AAEL015070) and APNs (AAEL008158, AAEL008162) were significantly reduced. These results strongly suggest that ALPs and APNs could be associated with Cry11Aa resistance in Ae. aegypti.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and lysozymes are the main effectors of the insect immune system, and they are involved in both local and systemic responses. Among local responses, midgut immune reaction plays an important role in fighting pathogens that reach the insect body through the oral route, as do many microorganisms used in pest control. Under this point of view, understanding how insects defend themselves locally during the first phases of infections caused by food-borne pathogens is important to further improve microbial control strategies. In the present study, we analyzed the transcriptional response of AMPs and lysozymes in the midgut of Spodoptera exigua (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a polyphagous pest that is commonly controlled by products based on Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or baculovirus. First, we comprehensively characterized the transcripts encoding AMPs and lysozymes expressed in S. exigua larval midgut, identifying 35 transcripts that represent the S. exigua arsenal against microbial infection. Secondly, we analyzed their expression in the midgut after ingestion of sub-lethal doses of two different pore-forming B. thuringiensis toxins, Cry1Ca and Vip3Aa, and the S. exigua nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV). We observed that both Bt toxins triggered a similar, wide and in some cases high transcriptional activation of genes encoding AMPs and lysozymes, which was not reflected in the activation of the classical systemic immune-marker phenoloxidase in hemolymph. Baculovirus ingestion resulted in the opposed reaction: Almost all transcripts coding for AMPs and lysozymes were down-regulated or not induced 96 hours post infection. Our results shed light on midgut response to different virulence factors or pathogens used nowadays as microbial control agents and point out the importance of the midgut immune response contribution to the larval immunity.
Project description: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:The resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry2Ab in a greenhouse-originated Trichoplusia ni strain resistant to both Bt toxins Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab was characterized. Biological assays determined that the Cry2Ab resistance in the T. ni strain was a monogenic recessive trait independent of Cry1Ac resistance, and there existed no significant cross-resistance between Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab in T. ni. From the dual-toxin-resistant T. ni strain, a strain resistant to Cry2Ab only was isolated, and the Cry2Ab resistance trait was introgressed into a susceptible laboratory strain to facilitate comparative analysis of the Cry2Ab resistance with the susceptible T. ni strain. Results from biochemical analysis showed no significant difference between the Cry2Ab-resistant and -susceptible T. ni larvae in midgut proteases, including caseinolytic proteolytic activity and zymogram profile and serine protease activities, in midgut aminopeptidase and alkaline phosphatase activity, and in midgut esterases and hemolymph plasma melanization activity. For analysis of genetic linkage of Cry2Ab resistance with potential Cry toxin receptor genes, molecular markers for the midgut cadherin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and aminopeptidase N (APN) genes were identified between the original greenhouse-derived dual-toxin-resistant and the susceptible laboratory T. ni strains. Genetic linkage analysis showed that the Cry2Ab resistance in T. ni was not genetically associated with the midgut genes coding for the cadherin, ALP, and 6 APNs (APN1 to APN6) nor associated with the ABC transporter gene ABCC2. Therefore, the Cry2Ab resistance in T. ni is conferred by a novel but unknown genetic mechanism.