ABCC transporters mediate insect resistance to multiple Bt toxins revealed by bulk segregant analysis.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Bacillus thuringiensis Cry toxins are insecticidal proteins used widely for pest control. They are lethal to a restricted range of insects via specific interactions with insect receptors such as the ABC transporter subfamily members C2 (ABCC2) and C3 (ABCC3). However, it is still unclear how these different receptors contribute to insect susceptibility to Cry1A toxins. Here, we investigated the differences between the silkworm (Bombyx mori) ABCC2 (BmABCC2_S) and ABCC3 (BmABCC3) receptors in mediating Cry toxicity. Compared with BmABCC2_S, BmABCC3 exhibited 80- and 267-fold lower binding affinities to Cry1Aa and Cry1Ab, respectively, and these decreased affinities correlated well with the lower receptor activities of BmABCC3 for these Cry1A toxins. To identify the amino acid residues responsible for these differences, we constructed BmABCC3 variants containing a partial amino acid replacement with extracellular loops (ECLs) from BmABCC2_S. Replacing three amino acids from ECL 1 or 3 increased BmABCC3 activity toward Cry1Aa and enabled its activity toward Cry1Ab. Meanwhile, BmABCC2_S and BmABCC3 exhibited no receptor activities for Cry1Ca, Cry1Da, and Cry3Bb, correlating with markedly lower binding affinities for these Cry toxins. ABCC2 from a Cry1Ab-resistant B. mori strain (BmABCC2_R), which has a tyrosine insertion in ECL 2, displayed 93-fold lower binding affinity to Cry1Ab compared with BmABCC2_S but maintained high binding affinity to Cry1Aa. These results indicate that the Cry toxin-binding affinities of ABCC transporters are largely linked to the level of Cry susceptibility of ABCC-expressing cells and that the ABCC ECL structures determine the specificities to Cry toxins.
Project description:Insecticidal crystal toxins derived from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are widely used as biopesticide sprays or expressed in transgenic crops to control insect pests. However, large-scale use of Bt has led to field-evolved resistance in several lepidopteran pests. Resistance to Bt Cry1Ac toxin in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), was previously mapped to a multigenic resistance locus (BtR-1). Here, we assembled the 3.15 Mb BtR-1 locus and found high-level resistance to Cry1Ac and Bt biopesticide in four independent P. xylostella strains were all associated with differential expression of a midgut membrane-bound alkaline phosphatase (ALP) outside this locus and a suite of ATP-binding cassette transporter subfamily C (ABCC) genes inside this locus. The interplay between these resistance genes is controlled by a previously uncharacterized trans-regulatory mechanism via the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Molecular, biochemical, and functional analyses have established ALP as a functional Cry1Ac receptor. Phenotypic association experiments revealed that the recessive Cry1Ac resistance was tightly linked to down-regulation of ALP, ABCC2 and ABCC3, whereas it was not linked to up-regulation of ABCC1. Silencing of ABCC2 and ABCC3 in susceptible larvae reduced their susceptibility to Cry1Ac but did not affect the expression of ALP, whereas suppression of MAP4K4, a constitutively transcriptionally-activated MAPK upstream gene within the BtR-1 locus, led to a transient recovery of gene expression thereby restoring the susceptibility in resistant larvae. These results highlight a crucial role for ALP and ABCC genes in field-evolved resistance to Cry1Ac and reveal a novel trans-regulatory signaling mechanism responsible for modulating the expression of these pivotal genes in P. xylostella.
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 adoption of transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal crystalline (Cry) proteins has reduced insecticide application, increased yields, and contributed to food safety worldwide. However, the efficacy of transgenic Bt crops is put at risk by the adaptive resistance evolution of target pests. Previous studies indicate that resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1A and Cry1F toxins was genetically linked with mutations of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter subfamily C gene ABCC2 in at least seven lepidopteran insects. Several strains selected in the laboratory of the Asian corn borer, Ostrinia furnacalis, a destructive pest of corn in Asian Western Pacific countries, developed high levels of resistance to Cry1A and Cry1F toxins. The causality between the O. furnacalis ABCC2 (OfABCC2) gene and resistance to Cry1A and Cry1F toxins remains unknown. Here, we successfully generated a homozygous strain (OfC2-KO) of O. furnacalis with an 8-bp deletion mutation of ABCC2 by the CRISPR/Cas9 approach. The 8-bp deletion mutation results in a frame shift in the open reading frame of transcripts, which produced a predicted protein truncated in the TM4-TM5 loop region. The knockout strain OfC2-KO showed much more than a 300-fold resistance to Cry1Fa, and low levels of resistance to Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac (<10-fold), but no significant effects on the toxicities of Cry1Aa and two chemical insecticides (abamectin and chlorantraniliprole), compared to the background NJ-S strain. Furthermore, we found that the Cry1Fa resistance was autosomal, recessive, and significantly linked with the 8-bp deletion mutation of OfABCC2 in the OfC2-KO strain. In conclusion, in vivo functional investigation demonstrates the causality of the OfABCC2 truncating mutation with high-level resistance to the Cry1Fa toxin in O. furnacalis. Our results suggest that the OfABCC2 protein might be a functional receptor for Cry1Fa and reinforces the association of this gene to the mode of action of the Cry1Fa toxin.
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: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:The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis produces Crystal (Cry) proteins that are toxic to a diverse range of insects. Transgenic crops that produce Bt Cry proteins are grown worldwide because of their improved resistance to insect pests. Although Bt "pyramid" cotton that produces both Cry1A and Cry2A is predicted to be more resistant to several lepidopteran pests, including Spodoptera exigua, than plants that produce Cry1Ac alone, the mechanisms responsible for the toxicity of Cry2Aa in S. exigua are not well understood. We identified several proteins that bind Cry2Aa (polycalin, V-ATPase subunits A and B, actin, 4-hydroxybutyrate CoA-transferase [4-HB-CoAT]), and a receptor for activated protein kinase C (Rack), in S. exigua. Recombinant, expressed versions of these proteins were able to bind the Cry2Aa toxin in vitro assays. RNA interference gene knockdown of the Se-V-ATPase subunit B significantly decreased the susceptibility of S. exigua larvae to Cry2Aa, whereas knockdown of the other putative binding proteins did not. Moreover, an in vitro homologous competition assay demonstrated that the Se-V-ATPase subunit B binds specifically to the Cry2Aa toxin, suggesting that this protein acts as a functional receptor of Cry2Aa in S. exigua. This the first Cry2Aa toxin receptor identified in S. exigua brush-border membrane vesicles.
Project description:The use of Bt proteins in crops has revolutionized insect pest management by offering effective season-long control. However, field-evolved resistance to Bt proteins threatens their utility and durability. A recent example is field-evolved resistance to Cry1Fa and Cry1A.105 in fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). This resistance has been detected in Puerto Rico, mainland USA, and Brazil. A S. frugiperda population with suspected resistance to Cry1Fa was sampled from a maize field in Puerto Rico and used to develop a resistant lab colony. The colony demonstrated resistance to Cry1Fa and partial cross-resistance to Cry1A.105 in diet bioassays. Using genetic crosses and proteomics, we show that this resistance is due to loss-of-function mutations in the ABCC2 gene. We characterize two novel mutant alleles from Puerto Rico. We also find that these alleles are absent in a broad screen of partially resistant Brazilian populations. These findings confirm that ABCC2 is a receptor for Cry1Fa and Cry1A.105 in S. frugiperda, and lay the groundwork for genetically enabled resistance management in this species, with the caution that there may be several distinct ABCC2 resistances alleles in nature.
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.