1,231 research outputs found

    Evaluation of the susceptibility of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, to a selection of novel biorational insecticides using an artificial diet

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    An improved technique was developed to assay the toxicity of insecticides against aphids using an artificial diet. The susceptibility of the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) (Hemiptera: Aphidoidea) was determined for a selection of novel biorational insecticides, each representing a novel mode of action. Flonicamid, a novel systemic insecticide with selective activity as feeding blocker against sucking insects, showed high toxicity against first-instar A. pisum nymphs with an LC50 of 20.4 mu g/ml after 24 h, and of 0.24 mu g/ml after 72 h. The toxicity was compared with another feeding blocker, pymetrozine, and the neonicotinoid, imidacloprid. In addition, four insect growth regulators were tested. The chitin synthesis inhibitor flufenoxuron, the juvenile hormone analogue pyriproxyfen, and the azadirachtin compound Neem Azal-T/S showed strong effects and reduced the aphid population by 50% after 3 days of treatment at a concentration of 7-9 mu g/ml. The ecdysone agonist tested, halofenozide, was less potent. In conclusion, the improved aphid feeding apparatus can be useful as a miniature screening device for insecticides against different aphid pests. The present study demonstrated rapid and strong toxicity of flonicamid, and other biorational insecticides towards A. pisum

    Arboviruses and the challenge to establish systemic and persistent infections in competent mosquito vectors : the interaction with the RNAi mechanism

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    Arboviruses are capable to establish long-term persistent infections in mosquitoes that do not affect significantly the physiology of the insect vectors. Arbovirus infections are controlled by the RNAi machinery via the production of viral siRNAs and the formation of RISC complexes targeting viral genomes and mRNAs. Engineered arboviruses that contain cellular gene sequences can therefore be transformed to "viral silencing vectors" for studies of gene function in reverse genetics approaches. More specifically, "ideal" viral silencing vectors must be competent to induce robust RNAi effects while other interactions with the host immune system should be kept at a minimum to reduce non-specific effects. Because of their inconspicuous nature, arboviruses may approach the "ideal" viral silencing vectors in insects and it is therefore worthwhile to study the mechanisms by which the interactions with the RNAi machinery occur. In this review, an analysis is presented of the antiviral RNAi response in mosquito vectors with respect to the major types of arboviruses (alphaviruses, flaviviruses, bunyaviruses, and others). With respect to antiviral defense, the exo-RNAi pathway constitutes the major mechanism while the contribution of both miRNAs and viral piRNAs remains a contentious issue. However, additional mechanisms exist in mosquitoes that are capable to enhance or restrict the efficiency of viral silencing vectors such as the amplification of RNAi effects by DNA forms, the existence of incorporated viral elements in the genome and the induction of a non-specific systemic response by Dicer-2. Of significance is the observation that no major "viral suppressors of RNAi" (VSRs) seem to be encoded by arboviral genomes, indicating that relatively tight control of the activity of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) may be sufficient to maintain the persistent character of arbovirus infections. Major strategies for improvement of viral silencing vectors therefore are proposed to involve engineering of VSRs and modifying of the properties of the RdRp. Because of safety issues (pathogen status), however, arbovirus-based silencing vectors are not well suited for practical applications, such as RNAi-based mosquito control. In that case, related mosquito-specific viruses that also establish persistent infections and may cause similar RNAi responses may represent a valuable alternative solution

    Israeli acute paralysis virus infection leads to an enhanced RNA interference response and not its suppression in the bumblebee Bombus terrestris

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    RNA interference (RNAi) is the primary antiviral defense system in insects and its importance for pollinator health is indisputable. In this work, we examined the effect of Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) infection on the RNAi process in the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, and whether the presence of possible functional viral suppressors could alter the potency of the host's immune response. For this, a two-fold approach was used. Through a functional RNAi assay, we observed an enhancement of the RNAi system after IAPV infection instead of its suppression, despite only minimal upregulation of the genes involved in RNAi. Besides, the presence of the proposed suppressor 1A and the predicted OrfX protein in IAPV could not be confirmed using high definition mass spectrometry. In parallel, when bumblebees were infected with cricket paralysis virus (CrPV), known to encode a suppressor of RNAi, no increase in RNAi efficiency was seen. For both viruses, pre-infection with the one virus lead to a decreased replication of the other virus, indicating a major effect of competition. These results are compelling in the context of Dicistroviridae in multi-virus/multi-host networks as the effect of a viral infection on the RNAi machinery may influence subsequent virus infections

    Overexpression of Nictaba-like lectin genes from glycine max confers tolerance towards Pseudomonas syringae infection, aphid infestation and salt stress in transgenic Arabidopsis plants

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    Plants have evolved a sophisticated immune system that allows them to recognize invading pathogens by specialized receptors. Carbohydrate-binding proteins or lectins are part of this immune system and especially the lectins that reside in the nucleocytoplasmic compartment are known to be implicated in biotic and abiotic stress responses. The class of Nictaba-like lectins (NLL) groups all proteins with homology to the tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) lectin, known as a stress-inducible lectin. Here we focus on two Nictaba homologs from soybean (Glycine max), referred to as GmNLL1 and GmNLL2. Confocal laser scanning microscopy of fusion constructs with the green fluorescent protein either transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves or stably transformed in tobacco BY-2 suspension cells revealed a nucleocytoplasmic localization for the GmNLLs under study. RT-qPCR analysis of the transcript levels for the Nictaba-like lectins in soybean demonstrated that the genes are expressed in several tissues throughout the development of the plant. Furthermore, it was shown that salt treatment, Phytophthora sojae infection and Aphis glycines infestation trigger the expression of particular NLL genes. Stress experiments with Arabidopsis lines overexpressing the NLLs from soybean yielded an enhanced tolerance of the plant towards bacterial infection (Pseudomonas syringae), insect infestation (Myzus persicae) and salinity. Our data showed a better performance of the transgenic lines compared to wild type plants, indicating that the NLLs from soybean are implicated in the stress response. These data can help to further elucidate the physiological importance of the Nictaba-like lectins from soybean, which can ultimately lead to the design of crop plants with a better tolerance to changing environmental conditions

    RNAi efficiency, systemic properties, and novel delivery methods for pest insect control : what we know so far

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    In recent years, the research on the potential of using RNA interference (RNAi) to suppress crop pests has made an outstanding growth. However, given the variability of RNAi efficiency that is observed in many insects, the development of novel approaches toward insect pest management using RNAi requires first to unravel factors behind the efficiency of dsRNA-mediated gene silencing. In this review, we explore essential implications and possibilities to increase RNAi efficiency by delivery of dsRNA through non-transformative methods. We discuss factors influencing the RNAi mechanism in insects and systemic properties of dsRNA. Finally, novel strategies to deliver dsRNA are discussed, including delivery by symbionts, plant viruses, trunk injections, root soaking, and transplastomic plants

    Identification of male- and female-specific olfaction genes in antennae of the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis)

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    The oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is a species of tephritid fruit fly, endemic to Southeast Asia but also introduced to many regions of the US, and it is one of the major pest species with a broad host range of cultivated and wild fruits. Although males of B. dorsalis respond strongly to methyl eugenol and this is used for monitoring and estimating populations, the molecular mechanism of the oriental fruit fly olfaction has not been elucidated yet. Therefore, in this project, using next generation sequencing technologies, we sequenced the transcriptome of the antennae of male and female adults of B. dorsalis. We identified a total of 20 candidate odorant binding proteins (OBPs), 5 candidate chemosensory proteins (CSPs), 35 candidate odorant receptors (ORs), 12 candidate ionotropic receptors (IRs) and 4 candidate sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs). The sex-specific expression of these genes was determined and a subset of 9 OR genes was further characterized by qPCR with male and female antenna, head, thorax, abdomen, leg and wing samples. In the male antennae, 595 genes showed a higher expression, while 128 genes demonstrated a higher expression in the female antennae. Interestingly, 2 ORs (BdorOR13 and BdorOR14) were highly and specifically expressed in the antennae of males, and 4 ORs (BdorOR13, BdorOR16, BdorOR18 and BdorOR35) clustered with DmOR677, suggesting pheromone reception. We believe this study with these antennae-enriched OBPs, CSPs, ORs, IRs and SNMPs can play an important role in the detection of pheromones and general odorants, and so in turn our data improve our current understanding of insect olfaction at the molecular level and provide important information for disrupting the behavior of the oriental fruit fly using chemical communication methods

    Arabidopsis lectin EULS3 is involved in ABA signaling in roots

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    The Arabidopsis thaliana lectin ArathEULS3 is upregulated in particular stress conditions and upon abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. ABA is a plant hormone important for plant growth and stress responses. During stress ABA is perceived by PYR/PYL/RCAR receptors, inhibiting protein phosphatases PP2Cs thereby enabling SNRK2s kinases to start downstream phosphorylation cascades and signaling. PYL9, one of the ABA receptors was identified as an interacting partner for ArathEULS3. Promoter::GUS activity studies revealed the expression of ArathEULS3 in the central root cylinder and the cells flanking young lateral root primordia, and showed enhanced expression in root tips after ABA treatment. Transcript levels for ArathEULS3 increased after exposure to ABA and osmotic treatments. ArathEULS3 CRISPR KO mutants served as a tool to expand the knowledge on the role of ArathEULS3 in plant development. KO lines revealed a longer root system compared to WT plants, and showed reduced sensitivity to ABA, salt, and osmotic conditions. Additionally it was noted that the KO mutants had more emerged lateral roots when grown in high osmotic conditions. Together these data suggest that ArathEULS3 may be an important player in ABA responses in roots

    Pattern of population structuring between Belgian and Estonian bumblebees

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    Several population genetic studies investigated the extent of gene flow and population connectivity in bumblebees. In general, no restriction in gene flow is considered for mainland populations of common bumblebee species. Whether this assumption holds true for all species is not known. An assessment of bumblebee genetic structure in the context of their geographic distribution is needed to prioritize conservation and management needs. Here, we conducted a genetic study on seven bumblebee species occurring in Belgium and Estonia. Using 16 microsatellite markers, we investigated genetic diversity and population structuring in each species. This is the first study investigating population structuring of both declining and stable bumblebee species on both small and large geographic scales. Our results showed no or only low population structuring between the populations of the restricted and declining bumblebee species on both scales, while significant structuring was found for populations of the common species on the larger scale. The latter result, which may be due to human or environmental changes in the landscape, implies the need for the conservation of also widespread bumblebee species. Conservation strategies to improve gene flow and connectivity of populations could avoid the isolation and future losses of populations of these important species

    Potato virus Y (PVY) strains in Belgian seed potatoes and first molecular detection of the N-Wi strain

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    Potato virus Y (PVY), one of the most important agents causing potato crop losses worldwide, is transmitted by a variety of aphid species in a non-persistent manner. Several PVY strains have been differentiated, all of them causing different symptoms and symptom expression levels on numerous commercial potato cultivars. In Belgium, strains belonging to the N group have been reported as the most prevalent, but no detailed information on the relative importance of the PVY strains in Belgium have been published to date. We report here on a survey performed on Belgian seed potatoes harvested in 2010 in which 2700 individual tubers from 54 seed potato lots originating from 54 farms were screened for presence of PVY. The results revealed a high PVY incidence and substantial strain diversity in some farms. The dominance of the N group in Belgian seed potatoes was confirmed, while the 0 strain was only found in a few locations. Further characterization using multiplex PCR identified 75% of the isolates as NTN strains and 7.5% as Wilga strain (N-Wi). The presence of the N-Wi strain was confirmed and characterized for the first time in Belgian seed potato production
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