Author(s): Wirth MC, Georghiou GP, Federici BA
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Abstract Cry proteins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis are selective biodegradable insecticides used increasingly in bacterial insecticides and transgenic plants as alternatives to synthetic chemical insecticides. However, the potential for development of resistance and cross-resistance in target insect populations to Cry proteins used alone or in combination threatens the more widespread use of this novel pest control technology. Here we show that high levels of resistance to CryIV proteins in larvae of the mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, can be suppressed or reduced markedly by combining these proteins with sublethal quantities of CytA, a cytolytic endotoxin of B. thuringiensis. Resistance at the LC95 level of 127-fold for a combination of three CryIV toxins (CryIVA, B, and D), resulting from 60 generations of continuous selection, was completely suppressed by combining sporulated powders of CytA in a 1:3 ratio with sporulated powders of a CryIVA, CryIVB, and CryIVD strain. Combining the CytA strain with a CryIVA and CryIVB strain also completely suppressed mosquito resistance of 217-fold to the latter toxins at the LC95 level, whereas combination of CytA with CryIVD reduced resistance in a CryIVD-selected mosquito strain from greater than 1,000-fold to less than 8-fold. The CytA/CryIV model provides a potential molecular genetic strategy for engineering resistance management for Cry proteins directly into bacterial insecticides and transgenic plants.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Research