Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) Aminopeptidase N1 Is a Functional Receptor of the Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ca Toxin.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:The fall armyworm, <i>Spodoptera frugiperda</i>, is an invasive maize pest that has spread from the Americas into Africa and Asia and causes severe crop damage worldwide. Most populations of <i>S. frugiperda</i> show low susceptibility to <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> (Bt) Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac toxins, which have been proved to be effective against several other lepidopteran pests. In addition, <i>S. frugiperda</i> has evolved resistance to transgenic maize expressing Cry1Fa toxin. The specificity and toxicity of Cry toxins are determined by their binding to different larval midgut proteins, such as aminopeptidase N (APN), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and cadherin (CAD), among other proteins, by means of exposed domain II loop regions and also by the domain III β-sheets β-16 and β-22. Here, we analyzed different Cry1Ab mutants with mutations in the domain III β-22 region. Alanine-scanning mutagenesis of this region revealed that all mutants showed increased toxicity against a nonsusceptible Cry1Ab <i>S. frugiperda</i> population. Further analysis of the mutant toxin Cry1AbS587A (bearing a mutation of S to A at position 587) revealed that, compared to Cry1Ab, it showed significantly increased toxicity to three other <i>S. frugiperda</i> populations from Mexico but retained similar toxicity to <i>Manduca sexta</i> larvae. Cry1AbS587A bound to brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV), and its higher toxicity correlated with higher binding affinities to APN, ALP, and CAD recombinant proteins. Furthermore, silencing the expression of APN1 and CAD receptors in <i>S. frugiperda</i> larvae by RNA interference (RNAi) showed that Cry1AbS587A toxicity relied on CAD expression, in contrast to Cry1Ab. These data support the idea that the increased toxicity of Cry1AbS587A to <i>S. frugiperda</i> is in part due to an improved binding interaction with the CAD receptor.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> <i>Spodoptera frugiperda</i> is an important worldwide pest of maize and rice crops that has evolved resistance to Cry1Fa-expressing maize in different countries. Therefore, identification of additional toxins with different modes of action is needed to provide alternative tools to control this insect pest. <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> (Bt) Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac toxins are highly active against several important lepidopteran pests but show varying and low levels of toxicity against different <i>S. frugiperda</i> populations. Thus, the identification of Cry1A mutants that gain toxicity to <i>S. frugiperda</i> and retain toxicity to other pests could be of great value to produce transgenic crops that resist a broader spectrum of lepidopteran pests. Here, we characterized Cry1Ab domain III β-22 mutants, and we found that a Cry1AbS587A mutant displayed increased toxicity against different <i>S. frugiperda</i> populations. Thus, Cry1AbS587A could be a good toxin candidate to produce transgenic maize with broader efficacy against this important insect pest in the field.
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: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: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:Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ah protein is highly toxic against Helicoverpa armigera but shows no toxicity against Bombyx mori larvae. In contrast, the closely related Cry1Ai toxin showed the opposite phenotype: high activity against B. mori but no toxicity against H. armigera. Analysis of binding of Cry1Ah to brush border membrane vesicle (BBMV) proteins from H. armigera and B. mori by surface plasmon resonance revealed association of toxin binding with insect specificity. Pulldown experiments identified aminopeptidase N1 (APN1) as a Cry1Ah binding protein that was not observed in the assays using B. mori BBMV proteins. The APN1 Cry1Ah binding region was narrowed to the region from A548 to S798 (fragment H3) by expressing four different APN1 fragments in Escherichia coli and analyzing Cry1Ah binding by ligand blot. Binding competition experiments of Cry1Ah to APN1 fragment H3 using synthetic peptides corresponding to four predicted domain II loop regions showed that loop 2 and loop 3 have additive effects on binding to APN1 fragment H3. Moreover, switching of loop 2 and loop 3 regions from Cry1Ah to Cry1Ai toxins showed that loop 2 and loop 3 are both involved in specificity and toxicity against H. armigera IMPORTANCE: Domain II loop regions have been shown to be involved in binding to larval gut proteins mediating insect specificity. The modification of loop regions is a direct and effective method to construct new Cry toxin variants to increase toxicity or modify specificity. Our results show that the exchange of loop regions from one toxin into another is a successful scheme for modification of B. thuringiensis Cry toxin specificity.
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: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:The interaction between Bacillus thuringiensis Cry toxins and their receptors on midgut cells of susceptible insect larvae is the critical determinant in toxin specificity. Besides GPI-linked alkaline phosphatase in Aedes aegypti mosquito-larval midguts, membrane-bound aminopeptidase N (AaeAPN) is widely thought to serve as a Cry4Ba receptor. Here, two full-length AaeAPN isoforms, AaeAPN2778 and AaeAPN2783, predicted to be GPI-linked were cloned and successfully expressed in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells as 112- and 107-kDa membrane-bound proteins, respectively. In the cytotoxicity assay, Sf9 cells expressing each of the two AaeAPN isoforms showed increased sensitivity to the Cry4Ba mosquito-active toxin. Double immunolocalization revealed specific binding of Cry4Ba to each individual AaeAPN expressed on the cell membrane surface. Sequence analysis and homology-based modeling placed these two AaeAPNs to the M1 aminopeptidase family as they showed similar four-domain structures, with the most conserved domain II being the catalytic component. Additionally, the most variable domain IV containing negatively charged surface patches observed only in dipteran APNs could be involved in insect specificity. Overall results demonstrated that these two membrane-bound APN isoforms were responsible for mediating Cry4Ba toxicity against AaeAPN-expressed Sf9 cells, suggesting their important role as functional receptors for the toxin counterpart in A. aegypti mosquito larvae.
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.