Dively GP, Crossley MS, Schoville SD, Steinhauer N, Hawthorne DJ. 2020. Pest Management Science. 2020 Jul. DOI: 10.1002/ps.5992.

BACKGROUND: Agricultural insect pests frequently exhibit geographic variation in levels of insecticide resistance, which are often presumed to be due to the intensity of insecticide use for pest management. However, regional differences in the evolution of resistance to novel insecticides suggests that other factors are influencing rates of adaptation. We examined median lethal concentration (LC50) bioassay data spanning 15 years and six insecticides (abamectin, imidacloprid, spinosad, cyantraniliprole, chlorantraniliprole, and metaflumizone) for evidence of regional differences in Leptinotarsa decemlineata baseline sensitivity to insecticides as they became commercially available.

RESULTS: We consistently found that larvae from Colorado potato beetle populations from the northwestern USA had the highest baseline sensitivity to novel insecticides, while populations from the eastern USA had the lowest. Comparisons of gene expression between populations from these regions revealed constitutively elevated expression of an array of detoxification genes in the East, but no evidence of additional induction when exposed to imidacloprid.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest a mechanism for geographic variation in rates of adaptation to insecticides, whereby baseline levels of gene expression determine a population's response to novel insecticides. These findings have implications for the regional development of insecticide resistance management strategies and for the fundamental question of what determines the rate of adaptation to insecticides.

Yoon JS, Kim K, Palli SR. 2020. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 23(4):1160–1164.

Despite extensive research during the past decade elucidating the mechanism of RNA interference (RNAi) in insects, it is not clear how ingested or injected double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) triggers RNAi response in the whole body or even its progeny, which is referred to as systemic RNAi. In the present study, we aim to understand how the dsRNA delivered into cells causes systemic RNAi using Colorado potato beetle cells (Lepd-SL1). We first tested if dsRNA treatment induces systemic RNAi in Lepd-SL1 cells. Exposure of a new batch of Lepd-SL1 cells to the conditioned medium where Lepd-SL1 cells treated with dsRNA targeting inhibitor of apoptosis were grown for 6 h induced apoptosis in these new batch of cells. We hypothesized the exosomes in the conditioned medium are responsible for RNAi-inducing effect. To test this hypothesis, we isolated exosomes from the conditioned medium from Lepd-SL1 cells that had been treated with dsGFP (dsRNA targeting gene coding for green fluorescent protein) or dsLuc (dsRNA targeting gene coding for the luciferase) were grown. RNA present in the purified exosomes was analyzed to check if long dsRNA or siRNA is accumulated in them. The results from the electrophoretic mobility shift assay clearly showed that the long dsRNAs are present in the exosomes. By knockdown of candidate genes involved in endosome recycling and generation pathways, we found that Rab4 and Rab35 are involved in exosome production and transport.

Máximo WPF, Howell JL, Mogilicherla K, Basij M, Chereddy SCRR, Palli SR. 2020. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 104:e21685.

The Colorado potato beetle (CPB; Leptinotarsa decemlineata) is one of the most notorious and difficult to control pests of potato and other solanaceous crops in North America. This insect has evolved a remarkable ability to detoxify both plant and synthetic toxins, allowing it to feed on solanaceous plants containing toxic alkaloids and to develop resistance to synthetic chemicals used for its control. RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural mechanism that evolved as an immune response to double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses where dsRNA triggers silencing of target gene expression. RNAi is being developed as a method to control CPB. Here, we evaluated four CPB-specific genes to identify targets for RNAi-mediated control of this insect. Out of the four dsRNAs evaluated in CPB larvae and adults, dsIAP (dsRNA targeting inhibitor of apoptosis, iap gene) performed better than dsActin, dsHSP70, and dsDynamin in inducing larval mortality. However, in adults, the mortality induced by dsActin is significantly higher than the mortality induced by dsIAP, dsHSP70, and dsDynamin. Interestingly, a combination of dsIAP and dsActin performed better than either dsIAP or dsActin alone by inducing feeding inhibition in 24 hr and mortality in 48 hr in larvae. When the dsIAP and dsActin were expressed in the Escherichia coli HT115 strain and applied as a heat-killed bacterial spray on potato plants, it protected the plants from CPB damage. These studies show that the combination of dsIAP and dsActin shows promise as an insecticide to control CPB.

Kang W-N, Fu K-Y, Guo W-C, Li G-Q. 2020.  Microbiology Resource Announcements. 9(25).

Bacteria of the genus Stenotrophomonas are opportunistic and have been documented in the guts of several insect species. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of S. maltophilia strain CPBW01, isolated from the wings of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, collected from potato fields in Urumqi (43.71N, 87.39E), Xinjiang, China.

Ashouri S, Farshbaf Pourabad R. 2021. Gene. 766:145159.

Considering the relevance of insect α-amylases and natural α-amylase inhibitors present in plants to protect against insect damage, we investigated the effect of white bean and rapeseed protein extracts on digestive α-amylase gene expression of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say). For this purpose, in vitro and in vivo trials were performed to determine the inhibitory activity of seed proteins on the third and fourth instar larvae. In both trials, the significant inhibitory effect of each extracts on the third and fourth instar larval α-amylase activity and considerable mortality in treatments were observed compared to control trials. In the RT-qPCR, expression ratio demonstrated that the α-amylase gene of two different larval stages grown on both proteins treated leaves had significantly differentiated expression and was up-regulated in third instar larvae and down-regulated in fourth instar larvae compared to control. Results suggest that the hyper-production of α-amylase in third instar larvae is elicited to compensate for the enzyme activity inhibition at an earlier stage and also down-regulation suggests the existence of a negative feedback of plant proteins on the last instar larvae via impaired food intake and digestive α-amylase activity in Colorado potato beetle. Therefore, disruption of the insect's digestive physiology by plant defensive proteins can be considered in the development of innovative controlling methods of this crucial potato pest.

Mehlhorn, S.G., S. Geibel, G. Bucher, R. Nauen. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, Volume 166, June 2020, 104569, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pestbp.2020.104569

In recent years, substantial effort was spent on the exploration and implementation of RNAi technology using double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for pest management purposes. However, only few studies investigated the geographical variation in RNAi sensitivity present in field-collected populations of the targeted insect pest. In this baseline study, 2nd instar larvae of 14 different European populations of Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata, collected from nine different countries were exposed to a foliarly applied diagnostic dose of dsactin (dsact) to test for possible variations in RNAi response. Only minor variability in RNAi sensitivity was observed between populations. However, the time necessary to trigger a dsRNA-mediated phenotypic response varied significantly among populations, indicated by significant differences in mortality figures obtained five days after treatment. An inbred German laboratory reference strain D01 and a Spanish field strain E02 showed almost 100% mortality after foliar exposure to 30 ng dsactin (equal to 0.96 g/ha), whereas another Spanish strain E01 was least responsive and showed only 30% mortality. Calculated LD50-values for foliarly applied dsact against strains D01 (most sensitive) and E01 (least sensitive) were 9.22 and 68.7 ng/leaf disc, respectively. The variability was not based on target gene sequence divergence or knock-down efficiency. Variability in expression of the core RNAi machinery genes dicer (dcr2a) and argonaute (ago2a) was observed but did not correlate with sensitivity. Interestingly, RT-qPCR data collected for all strains revealed a strong correlation between the expression level of dcr2a and ago2a (r 0.93) as well as ago2a and stauC (r 0.94), a recently described dsRNA binding protein in Coleopterans. Overall, this study demonstrates that sensitivity of CPB to sprayable RNAi slightly varies between strains but also shows that foliar RNAi as a control method works against all tested CPB populations collected across a broad geographic range in Europe. Thus, underpinning the potential of RNAi-based CPB control as a promising component in integrated pest management (IPM) and resistance management programs.

Wiebe K F, O O Elebute, C M R LeMoine, B J Cassone, Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 113, Issue 3, June 2020, Pages 1445–1454, https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toaa020

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say)) is an important pest of the cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum (L.) [Solanales: Solanaceae]). With its broad resistance toward commonly used insecticides, it is clear that more sophisticated control strategies are needed. Due to their importance in insect development, microRNAs (miRNAs) represent a potential tool to employ in insect control strategies. However, most studies conducted in this area have focused on model species with well-annotated genomes. In this study, next-generation sequencing was used to catalogue the miRNAs produced by L. decemlineata across all eight stages of its development, from eggs to adults. For most stages, the length of miRNAs peaked between 21 and 22 nt, though it was considerably longer for the egg stage (26 nt). Global profiling of miRNAs revealed three distinct developmental clusters: 1) egg stage; 2) early stage (first, second, and third instar); and 3) late stage (fourth instar, prepupae, pupae, and adult). We identified 86 conserved miRNAs and 33 bonafide novel miRNAs, including stage-specific miRNAs and those not previously identified in L. decemlineata. Most of the conserved miRNAs were found in multiple developmental stages, whereas the novel miRNAs were often stage specific with the bulk identified in the egg stage. The identified miRNAs have a myriad of putative functions, including growth, reproduction, and insecticide resistance. We discuss the putative roles of some of the most notable miRNAs in the regulation of L. decemlineata development, as well as the potential applications of this research in Colorado potato beetle management.

Gui S, C Taning, D Wei, G Smagghe. 2020. Journal of Insect Physiology 121, 104013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinsphys.2020.104013

Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), commonly known as the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), is an agricultural important pest for potatoes and other solanaceous plants. The CRISPR/Cas system is an efficient genome editing technology, which could be exploited to study the biology of CPB and possibly also lead to the development of better environmentally friendly pest management strategies. However, the use of CRISPR/Cas9 has been limited to only a few model insects. Here, for the first time, a CRISPR/Cas9 protocol for mutagenesis studies in CPB was developed. A gene with a clear phenotype such as the vestigial gene (vest), known to be involved in wing development in other insect species, was selected as a good indicator for the knockout study. First, vest was functionally characterized in CPB by using RNAi technology for knockdown studies. Once the expected deformed wing phenotypes were observed, a CRISPR/Cas9 work flow was established for mutagenesis in CPB. By co-injecting the Cas9 protein and a vest-guide RNA into 539 CPB eggs of <1 h old, sixty-two successfully developed to adults, among which mutation in the vest loci was confirmed in 5 of the 18 wingless CPBs (29% phenotypic mutation efficiency). The mutation in vest resulted in a clear phenotype in the CPBs, which developed to adulthood with no hindwing and elytron formed. Altogether, this study provides for the first time a useful methodology involving the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for mutagenesis studies in one of the most important pest insects.

Dumas, P. , M. Sambou , J. D. Gaudet , M. D. Morin , C. E. Moffat , S. Boquel , P. Morin. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology https://doi.org/10.1002/arch.21642

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata [Say]) is an insect pest that can significantly harm potato plants worldwide. Control of this insect relies heavily on chemical insecticides such as chlorantraniliprole. Nevertheless, the complete molecular signature associated with response to this compound is lacking in L. decemlineata. In this study, amplification and quantification by qRT‐PCR (quantitative reverse transcription‐polymerase chain reaction) of targets relevant to chlorantraniliprole were undertaken in insects exposed to this chemical. This approach showed modulation of numerous cytochrome P450s, such as CYP350D1 and CYP4Q3, as well as upregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs), including miR‐1‐3p and miR‐305‐5p, in chlorantraniliprole‐exposed insects. Functional assessment of transcript targets predicted to be regulated by these miRNAs was performed and revealed their likely impact on transcriptional regulation. RNAi‐based targeting of CYP350D1 notably provided preliminary evidence of its underlying implication for chlorantraniliprole response in L. decemlineata. Overall, this study strengthens the current knowledge of the molecular changes linked to chlorantraniliprole response in L. decemlineata and provides novel targets with potential relevance to chlorantraniliprole susceptibility in this insect pest of global relevance.

Xu, Q.-Y., Q.-W. Meng, P. Deng, K.-Y. Fu, W.-C. Guo, and G.-Q. Li. Bulletin of Entomological Research https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007485318001050

Dietary delivery of bacterially expressed double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) has a great potential for management of Leptinotarsa decemlineata. An important first step is to discover possible RNA-interference (RNAi)-target genes effective against larvae, especially the old larvae. In the present paper, five putative Broad-Complex (BrC) cDNAs (Z1-Z4, and Z6) were identified in L. decemlineata. The expression of the five LdBrC isoforms was suppressed by juvenile hormone signaling, whereas the transcription was upregulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone signaling at the fourth (final) instar larval stage. Feeding of bacterially expressed dsBrC (derived from a common fragment of the five LdBrC variants) in the third- and fourth-instar larvae successfully knocked down the target mRNAs. For the fourth-instar LdBrC RNAi hypomorphs, they had a higher larval mortality compared with the controls. Moreover, most dsBrC-fed beetles did not pupate normally. After removal of the apolysed larval cuticle, a miniature adult was found. The adult head, compound eyes, prothorax, mesothorax, metathorax were found on the dorsal view. Distinct adult cuticle pigmentation was seen on the prothorax. The mouthparts, forelegs, midlegs, and hindlegs could be observed on the ventral view of the miniature adults. For the third-instar LdBrC RNAi specimens, around 20% moribund beetles remained as prepupae and finally died. Therefore, LdBrC is among the most attractive candidate genes for RNAi to control the fourth-instar larvae in L. decemlineata.