Cry64Ba and Cry64Ca, Two ETX/MTX2-Type Bacillus thuringiensis Insecticidal Proteins Active against Hemipteran Pests.
ABSTRACT: Genetically modified crops that express insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins have become a primary approach for control of lepidopteran (moth) and coleopteran (beetle) pests that feed by chewing the plants. However, the sap-sucking insects (Hemiptera) are not particularly susceptible to Bt toxins. In this study, we describe two Cry toxins (Cry64Ba and Cry64Ca) from Bt strain 1012 that showed toxicity against two important hemipteran rice pests, Laodelphax striatellus and Sogatella furcifera Both of these proteins contain an ETX/MTX2 domain and share common sequence features with the ?-pore-forming toxins. Coexpression of cry64Ba and cry64Ca genes in the acrystalliferous Bt strain HD73- resulted in high insecticidal activity against both hemipteran pests. No toxicity was observed on other pests such as Ostrinia furnacalis, Plutella xylostella, or Colaphellus bowringi Also, no hemolytic activity or toxicity against cancer cells was detected. Binding assays showed specific binding of the Cry64Ba/Cry64Ca toxin complex to brush border membrane vesicles isolated from L. striatellus Cry64Ba and Cry64Ca are Bt Cry toxins highly effective against hemipteran pests and could provide a novel strategy for the environmentally friendly biological control of rice planthoppers in transgenic plants.IMPORTANCE In Asia, rice is an important staple food, whose production is threatened by rice planthoppers. To date, no effective Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein has been shown to have activity against rice planthoppers. We cloned two Bt toxin genes from Bt strain 1012 that showed toxicity against small brown planthoppers (Laodelphax striatellus) and white-backed planthoppers (Sogatella furcifera). To our knowledge, the proteins encoded by the cry64Ba and cry64Ca genes are the most efficient insecticidal Bt Cry proteins with activity against hemipteran insects reported so far. Cry64Ba and Cry64Ca showed no toxicity against some lepidopteran or coleopteran pests. These two proteins should be able to be used for integrated hemipteran pest management.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry toxins have been used widely in pest managements. However, Cry toxins are not effective against sap-sucking insects (Hemiptera), which limits the application of Bt for pest management. In order to extend the insecticidal spectrum of Bt toxins to the rice brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens, we modified Cry1Ab putative receptor binding domains with selected BPH gut-binding peptides (GBPs). Three surface exposed loops in the domain II of Cry1Ab were replaced with two GBPs (P2S and P1Z) respectively. Bioassay results showed that toxicity of modified toxin L2-P2S increased significantly (~9 folds) against BPH nymphs. In addition, damage of midgut cells was observed from the nymphs fed with L2-P2S. Our results indicate that modifying Cry toxins based on the toxin-gut interactions can broaden the insecticidal spectrum of Bt toxin. This method provides another approach for the development of transgenic crops with novel insecticidal activity against hemipteran insects and insect populations resistant to current Bt transgenic crops.
Project description:Genetically engineered (GE) rice lines expressing Lepidoptera-active insecticidal cry genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have been developed in China. Field surveys indicated that Bt rice harbours fewer rice planthoppers than non-Bt rice although planthoppers are not sensitive to the produced Bt Cry proteins. The mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain unknown. Here, we show that the low numbers of planthoppers on Bt rice are associated with reduced caterpillar damage. In laboratory and field-cage experiments, the rice planthopper Nilapavata lugens had no feeding preference for undamaged Bt or non-Bt plants but exhibited a strong preference for caterpillar-damaged plants whether Bt or non-Bt. Under open-field conditions, rice planthoppers were more abundant on caterpillar-damaged non-Bt rice than on neighbouring healthy Bt rice. GC-MS analyses showed that caterpillar damage induced the release of rice plant volatiles known to be attractive to planthoppers, and metabolome analyses revealed increased amino acid contents and reduced sterol contents known to benefit planthopper development. That Lepidoptera-resistant Bt rice is less attractive to this important nontarget pest in the field is therefore a first example of ecological resistance of Bt plants to nontarget pests. Our findings suggest that non-Bt rice refuges established for delaying the development of Bt resistance may also act as a trap crop for N. lugens and possibly other planthoppers.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a Gram negative soil bacterium. This bacterium secretes various proteins during different growth phases with an insecticidal potential against many economically important crop pests. One of the important families of Bt proteins is vegetative insecticidal proteins (Vip), which are secreted into the growth medium during vegetative growth. There are three subfamilies of Vip proteins. Vip1 and Vip2 heterodimer toxins have an insecticidal activity against many Coleopteran and Hemipteran pests. Vip3, the most extensively studied family of Vip toxins, is effective against Lepidopteron. Vip proteins do not share homology in sequence and binding sites with Cry proteins, but share similarities at some points in their mechanism of action. Vip3 proteins are expressed as pyramids alongside Cry proteins in crops like maize and cotton, so as to control resistant pests and delay the evolution of resistance. Biotechnological- and in silico-based analyses are promising for the generation of mutant Vip proteins with an enhanced insecticidal activity and broader spectrum of target insects.
Project description:The brown planthopper (BPH) Nilaparvata lugens is one of the most destructive insect pests in the rice fields of Asia. Like other hemipteran insects, BPH is not susceptible to Cry toxins of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or transgenic rice carrying Bt cry genes. Lack of Cry receptors in the midgut is one of the main reasons that BPH is not susceptible to the Cry toxins. The main Cry-binding proteins (CBPs) of the susceptible insects are cadherin, aminopeptidase N (APN), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). In this study, we analyzed and validated de novo assembled transcripts from transcriptome sequencing data of BPH to identify and characterize homologs of cadherin, APN, and ALP. We then compared the cadherin-, APN-, and ALP-like proteins of BPH to previously reported CBPs to identify their homologs in BPH. The sequence analysis revealed that at least one cadherin, one APN, and two ALPs of BPH contained homologous functional domains identified from the Cry-binding cadherin, APN, and ALP, respectively. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction used to verify the expression level of each putative Cry receptor homolog in the BPH midgut indicated that the CBPs homologous APN and ALP were expressed at high or medium-high levels while the cadherin was expressed at a low level. These results suggest that homologs of CBPs exist in the midgut of BPH. However, differences in key motifs of CBPs, which are functional in interacting with Cry toxins, may be responsible for insusceptibility of BPH to Cry toxins.
Project description:Although transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins have been used successfully for management of lepidopteran and coleopteran pest species, the sap-sucking insects (Hemiptera) are not particularly susceptible to Bt toxins. To overcome this limitation, we demonstrate that addition of a short peptide sequence selected for binding to the gut of the targeted pest species serves to increase toxicity against said pest. Insertion of a 12-aa pea aphid gut-binding peptide by adding to or replacing amino acids in one of three loops of the Bt cytolytic toxin, Cyt2Aa, resulted in enhanced binding and toxicity against both the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. This strategy may allow for transgenic plant-mediated suppression of other hemipteran pests, which include some of the most important pests of global agriculture.
Project description:The Cry proteins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are the most widely used biopesticides effective against a range of crop pests and disease vectors. Like chemical pesticides, development of resistance is the primary threat to the long-term efficacy of Bt toxins. Recently discovered cadherin-based Bt Cry synergists showed the potential to augment resistance management by improving efficacy of Cry toxins. However, the mode of action of Bt Cry synergists is thus far unclear. Here we elucidate the mechanism of cadherin-based Cry toxin synergism utilizing two cadherin peptides, Spodoptera frugiperda Cad (SfCad) and Manduca sexta Cad (MsCad), which differentially enhance Cry1Fa toxicity to Spodoptera frugiperda neonates. We show that differential SfCad- and MsCad-mediated protection of Cry1Fa toxin in the Spodoptera frugiperda midgut correlates with differential Cry1Fa toxicity enhancement. Both peptides exhibited high affinity for Cry1Fa toxin and an increased rate of Cry1Fa-induced pore formation in S. frugiperda. However, only SfCad bound the S. frugiperda brush border membrane vesicle and more effectively prolonged the stability of Cry1Fa toxin in the gut, explaining higher Cry1Fa enhancement by this peptide. This study shows that cadherin fragments may enhance B. thuringiensis toxicity by at least two different mechanisms or a combination thereof: (i) protection of Cry toxin from protease degradation in the insect midgut and (ii) enhancement of pore-forming ability of Cry toxin.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry toxins play an important role in the management of insect pests. Resistance to Bt toxins has been reported in many pest insects but the mechanism responsible for this resistance in rice crop pests remains largely unknown. Cadherin is one of several Bt toxin receptors. At present, only one cadherin gene, CsCAD1, has been documented in the striped rice stem borer, Chilo suppressalis. We amplified a nearly full-length transcript of another C. suppressalis cadherin gene, CsCAD2, and found that it has a different expression pattern to CsCAD1. CsCAD1 was highly expressed in fifth and sixth instar larvae, especially in the midgut, while the expression levels of CsCA2 were equably in each developmental stage. Newly hatched larvae were fed on rice smeared with synthesized siRNA to knockdown either CsCAD1 or CsCAD2, and then were fed transgenic rice expressing either the Cry2A or Cry1C toxins. The siRNA-treatment groups had lower mortality and higher survival rates than the control group, suggesting that reduced expression of CsCAD1 or CsCAD2 increased resistance to Cry2A and Cry1C. We conclude that CsCAD1 and CsCAD2 interact with Bt toxins in C. suppressalis and that this interaction could be the mechanism underlying Bt resistance in this insect.
Project description:The insecticidal Cry toxins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are increasingly important in the biological control of insect pests and vectors of human disease. Markets for Bt products and transgenic plants expressing their toxins are driven by their specificity, safety and the move away from chemical control agents. However, the high specificity of Cry toxins can also prove to be a limitation when there is no known Cry toxin active against a particular target. Novel activities can be discovered by screening natural Bt isolates or through modifications of the Cry proteins. Here we demonstrate the use of ?-phage displaying Cry1Aa13 toxin variants modified in domain II loop 2 (Crybodies) to select retargeted toxins. Through biopanning using gut tissue from larvae of the non-target insect Aedes aegypti, we isolated a number of phage for further testing. Two of the overexpressed Cry toxin variants showed significant activity against A. aegypti larvae while another induced mortality at the pupal stage. We present the first report of the use of phage display to identify novel activities toward insects from distant taxonomic Orders and establish this technology based on the use of Crybodies as a powerful tool for developing tailor-made insecticides against new target insects.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis is the most successful microbial insecticide agent and its proteins have been studied for many years due to its toxicity against insects mainly belonging to the orders Lepidoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera, which are pests of agro-forestry and medical-veterinary interest. However, studies on the interactions between this bacterium and the insect species classified in the order Coleoptera are more limited when compared to other insect orders. To date, 45 Cry proteins, 2 Cyt proteins, 11 Vip proteins, and 2 Sip proteins have been reported with activity against coleopteran species. A number of these proteins have been successfully used in some insecticidal formulations and in the construction of transgenic crops to provide protection against main beetle pests. In this review, we provide an update on the activity of Bt toxins against coleopteran insects, as well as specific information about the structure and mode of action of coleopteran Bt proteins.
Project description:The insecticidal Cry toxins are pore-forming toxins produced by the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis that disrupt insect-midgut cells. In this work we analyzed the response of two different insect orders, the Lepidopteran Manduca sexta and Dipteran Aedes aegypti to highly specific Cry toxins, Cry1Ab and Cry11Aa, respectively. One pathway activated in different organisms in response to a variety of pore-forming toxins is the mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 pathway (MAPK p38) that activates a complex defense response. We analyzed the MAPK p38 activation by immunodetection of its phosphorylated isoform, and the induction of p38 by RT-PCR, real-time PCR quantitative assays and immunodetection. We show that MAPK p38 is activated at postraductional level after Cry toxin intoxication in both insect orders. We detected the p38 induction at the transcriptional and traductional level, and observed a different response. In these three levels, we found that both insects respond to Cry toxin action but M. sexta responses more strongly than A. aegypti. Gene silencing of MAPK p38 in vivo, resulted in both insect species becoming hypersensitive to Cry toxin action, suggesting that the MAPK p38 pathway is involved in insect defense against Bt Cry toxins. This finding may have biotechnological applications for enhancing the activity of some Bt Cry toxins against specific insect pests.