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.

Wu JJ, Mu LL, Chen ZC, Fu KY, Guo WC, Li C, Li GQ. 2019. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 22(2):443–452.

Chitin deacetylases (CDAs) catalyze N-deacetylation of chitin, a crucial process for chitin modification. In the present paper, LdCDA1 was identified in Leptinotarsa decemlineata. It was copiously expressed in larval foregut, hindgut and epidermis. Just before the molt in the first, second and third larval instars, the mRNA levels of LdCDA1 were high. In the fourth (final)-instar larvae, a peak occurred 4 days after ecdysis. In vivo results revealed that LdCDA1 transcriptionally responded, positively and negatively respectively, to 20-hydroxyecdysone and juvenile hormone titers. Moreover, knockdown of LdCDA1 significantly reduced foliage consumption, lengthened developing period and prevented growth in the final instar larvae. Three distinct lethal phenotypes were noted in the LdCDA1 RNAi larvae. About 30% of the RNAi larvae became moribund and finally died; approximately 50% of deformed pupae died as pharate adults; and around 20% of LdCDA1 depleted pupae finally emerged as abnormal adults and eventually died within 1 week after emergence. Furthermore, chitin content was low and the mRNA levels of five chitin biosynthesis transcripts (LdUAP1, LdUAP2, LdChSAa, LdChSAb and LdChSB) were significantly declined in the LdCDA1 RNAi larvae. In addition, glucose, trehalose and glycogen contents were increased in the LdCDA1 depleted hypomorphs, along with highly expressed genes coding for trehalose and glycogen synthesis enzymes. The findings provide a compelling piece of evidence that CDA1 is critical for chitin deposition in L. decemlineata. Moreover, LdCDA1 may be a potential target for control of the larvae.

Rainio MJ, Margus A, Virtanen V, Lindström L, Salminen JP, Saikkonen K, Helander M. 2020. Chemosphere. 258:127254.

Glyphosate is the most used herbicide worldwide, targeting physiological pathways in plants. Recent studies have shown that glyphosate can also cause toxic effects in animals. We investigated the glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH)-induced changes in potato (Solanum tuberosum) plant chemistry and the effects of a GBH on the survival rate and oxidative status of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). The beetles were reared on potato plants grown in pots containing soil treated with a GBH (Roundup Gold, 450 g/l) or untreated soil (water control). The 2nd instar larvae were introduced to the potato plants and then collected in 2 phases: as 4th instar larvae and as adults. The main glycoalkaloids of the potato plants, α-solanine and α-chaconine, were measured twice during the experiment. The α-solanine was reduced in potato plants grown in GBH-treated soil, which can be detrimental to plant defenses against herbivores. GBH treatment had no effect on the survival rate or body mass of the larvae or the adult beetles. In the larvae, total glutathione (tGSH) concentration and the enzyme activity of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase, and glutathione-S-transferase were increased in the GBH treatment group. In the adult beetles, CAT activity and tGSH levels were affected by the interactive effect of GBH treatment and the body mass. To conclude, environmentally relevant concentrations of a GBH can affect the potato plant's glycoalkaloid concentrations, but are not likely to directly affect the survival rate of the Colorado potato beetle, but instead, modify the antioxidant defense of the beetles via diet.

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.

Lazarević J, Kostić I, Milanović S, Šešlija Jovanović D, Krnjajić S, Ćalić D, Stanković S, Kostić M. 2020.  Bulletin of Entomological Research. First View.

The Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), is one of the most destructive pest species to have developed resistance to most chemical insecticides. We determined the composition and evaluated the potential of Tanacetum parthenium L. and Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae family) essential oil (EO) application as an alternative eco-friendly control strategy against L. decemlineata. We assessed the antifeedant activity for L. decemlineata larvae and adults by estimating the damage to potato leaves treated with three concentrations of EOs dissolved in ethanol (0.125, 0.25 and 0.5%). Results showed that T. parthenium EO was more effective against larvae, and T. vulgare was more effective against adults. In an olfactometer assay, the time required to choose an untreated leaf disc did not depend on the Tanacetum species, or life stage examined. However, the concentration of EO exhibited a significant effect on the behaviour of both developmental stages. At higher EO concentrations, both third instar larvae and adults require less time to choose an untreated leaf disc. Additionally, T. parthenium EO provoked more rapid movement away from the treated leaf disc than T. vulgare, especially at the highest concentration. Successful modification of L. decemlineata behaviour by the two Tanacetum oils suggests that they possess the potential for use in potato protection.

He W, Xu W, Fu K, Guo W, Zhang J. 2020. Insects. 11(7):1–9.

RNA interference (RNAi)-based technology has been proven as a novel approach for insect pest control. However, whether insects could evolve resistance to RNAi and the underlying mechanism is largely unknown. The target gene mutations were thought to be one of the potential ways to develop the resistance. Here we predicted the effective siRNA candidates that could be derived from dsRNA against the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) β-Actin gene (dsACT). By site-directed mutagenesis, we synthesized the dsRNAs with the defect in generation of effective siRNAs (and thus were supposed to have comparable low RNAi efficacy). We showed that, with mismatches to the target gene, all the dsRNA variants caused similar levels of silencing of target gene, mortality and larval growth retardation of CPB. Our results suggest that when the mismatch rate of dsACT and target β-Actin mRNA is less than 3%, the RNAi efficiency is not impaired in CPB, which might imply the low possibility of RNAi resistance evolving through the sequence mismatches between dsRNA and the target gene.

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.

Gómez-Gallego, C., M. J. Rainio, M. C. Collado, A. Mantziari, S. Salminen, K. Saikkonen, M. Helander, FEMS Microbiology Letters, Volume 367, Issue 6, March 2020, fnaa050, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnaa050

Here, we examined whether glyphosate affects the microbiota of herbivores feeding on non-target plants. Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) were reared on potato plants grown in pots containing untreated soil or soil treated with glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH). As per the manufacturer's safety recommendations, the GBH soil treatments were done 2 weeks prior to planting the potatoes. Later, 2-day-old larvae were introduced to the potato plants and then collected in two phases: fourth instar larvae and adults. The larvae's internal microbiota and the adults’ intestinal microbiota were examined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The beetles’ microbial composition was affected by the GBH treatment and the differences in microbial composition between the control and insects exposed to GBH were more pronounced in the adults. The GBH treatment increased the relative abundance of Agrobacterium in the larvae and the adults. This effect may be related to the tolerance of some Agrobacterium species to glyphosate or to glyphosate-mediated changes in potato plants. On the other hand, the relative abundances of Enterobacteriaceae, Rhodobacter, Rhizobium and Acidovorax in the adult beetles and Ochrobactrum in the larvae were reduced in GBH treatment. These results demonstrate that glyphosate can impact microbial communities associated with herbivores feeding on non-target crop plants.

Favell, G.; McNeil, J.N.; Donly, C. Insects 2020, 11, 135.

The Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), is a significant agricultural pest that has developed resistance to many insecticides that are used to control it. Investigating the mechanisms of insecticide detoxification in this pest is important for ensuring its continued control, since they may be contributors to such resistance. Multidrug resistance (MDR) genes that code for the ABCB transmembrane efflux transporters are one potential source of insecticide detoxification activity that have not been thoroughly examined in L. decemlineata. In this study, we annotated the ABCB genes found in the L. decemlineata genome and then characterized the expression profiles across midgut, nerve, and Malpighian tubule tissues of the three full transporters identified. To investigate if these genes are involved in defense against the macrocyclic lactone insecticide ivermectin in this insect, each gene was silenced using RNA interference or MDR protein activity was inhibited using a chemical inhibitor, verapamil, before challenging the insects with a dose of ivermectin. Survival of the insects did not significantly change due to gene silencing or protein inhibition, suggesting that MDR transporters do not significantly contribute to defense against ivermectin in L. decemlineata.