Author(s): Yamamoto I, Tomizawa M, Saito T, Miyamoto T, Walcott EC,
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Abstract Nicotinoids and neonicotinoids are characterized by the presence of the 3-pyridylmethylamine moiety in their structure. In the former, the amino nitrogen atom is ionized, while in the latter the corresponding nitrogen atom is not ionized but bears a partial positive charge. Both types of insecticides interact with nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) of insect origin. The poor interaction of neonicotinoids with vertebrate nAChR was shown by its poor binding affinity to the nAChR from Torpedo electric organ and rat brain and poor activation with nAChR expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The full positive charge was essential to interact with the vertebrate nAChR, while the 3-pyridylmethylamine moiety with a partial positive charge was enough to interact with the insect nAChR. For penetration into the insect central nervous system, hydrophobicity seemed to play an important role, as indicated by the binding of the injected compounds to the housefly head nAChR. The ionization reduced hydrophobicity and limited the penetration of nicotinoids, resulting in less insecticidal activity. Among neonicotinoids, nitromethylene type compounds, though far higher in binding affinity, were less hydrophobic than the corresponding nitroimine type, and the net result was better or inferior insecticidal activity. A chlorine atom at the 6 position of the 3-pyridyl group found in commercialized neonicotinoids contributes to increased binding affinity and more importantly hydrophobicity, thus increasing insecticidal activity. N-Me-imidacloprid was found to be a propesticide of imidacloprid.
This article was published in Arch Insect Biochem Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology