Response of Last Instar Helicoverpa armígera Larvae to Bt Toxin Ingestion: Changes in the Development and in the CYP6AE14, CYP6B2 and CYP9A12 Gene Expression
Pérez Hedo, Meritxell
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Bt crops are able to produce Cry proteins, which were originally present in Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria. Although Bt maize is very efficient against corn borers, Spanish crops are also attacked by the earworm H. armigera, which is less susceptible to Bt maize. Many mechanisms could be involved in this low susceptibility to the toxin, including the insect’s metabolic resistance to toxins due to cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. This paper examines the response of last instar H. armigera larvae to feeding on a diet with Bt and non-Bt maize leaves in larval development and in the gene expression of three P450 cytochromes: CYP6AE14, CYP6B2 and CYP9A12. Larvae fed on sublethal amounts of the Bt toxin showed reduced food ingestion and reduced growth and weight, preventing most of them from achieving the critical weight and pupating; additionally, after feeding for one day on the Bt diet the larvae showed a slight increase in juvenile hormone II in the hemolymp. Larvae fed on the non-Bt diet showed the highest CYP6AE14, CYP6B2 and CYP9A12 expression one day after feeding on the non-Bt diet, and just two days later the expression decreased abruptly, a finding probably related to the developmental programme of the last instar. Moreover, although the response of P450 genes to plant allelochemicals and xenobiotics has been related in general to overexpression in the resistant insect, or induction of the genes when feeding takes place, the expression of the three genes studied was suppressed in the larvae feeding on the Bt toxin. The unexpected inhibitory effect of the Cry1Ab toxin in the P450 genes of H. armigera larvae should be thoroughly studied to determine whether this response is somehow related to the low susceptibility of the species to the Bt toxin.
Is part ofPLoS ONE, 2014, vol. 9, núm. 6, e99229
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