Guo, W., et al. 2018 J Agric Food Chem. 66(45):11990-11999. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b03914.

RNA interference (RNAi) has been developed for plant pest control. In this study, hairpin-type double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) targeting the juvenile hormone (JH) acid methyltransferase (JHAMT) gene (dsJHAMT) was introduced in potato plants via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The results indicated that the transcriptional RNA of dsJHAMT accumulated in the transgenic plants. The transcripts and proteins of the L. decemlineata JHAMT gene were significantly reduced in larvae feeding on dsJHAMT transgenic foliage. The dsJHAMT had a significant negative effect on the growth and development of L. decemlineata, especially resulting in less oviposition. Importantly, in the field trials, transgenic plants are high-efficiently protected from insect damage mainly because surviving insects laid fewer or no eggs. Even full protection from beetle damage can be acquired by continuously lowering insect population size at large scale in the field over the years. Therefore, the transgenic plants expressing dsJHAMT successfully provided an additional option for plant pest control.

Deng, P., Q.Y. Xu, K.Y. Fu, WC.. Guo, G.Q. Li. 2018. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 103:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2018.10.001.

It is noted that insect insulin/insulin-like growth factor/target of rapamycin signaling is critical for the regulation of metamorphosis in holometabolous insects. However, the molecular mechanism remains undetermined. Our previous findings reveal that RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of an insulin gene (LdILP2) in Leptinotarsa decemlineata disturbs both 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and juvenile hormone (JH) signaling, and impairs pupation. In the present paper, we further observed that the expression of the insulin receptor substrate gene chico (Ldchico) and the phosphoinositide-3-kinase gene pi3k (Ldpi3k92E) was repressed in LdILP2 depleted larvae. Moreover, RNAi of Ldchico or Ldpi3k92E decreased food consumption, affected absorption and metabolism of amino acids and sugars, and reduced expression of several 20E (LdEcR, LdHR3 and LdE75) and JH (LdJHAMT, LdKr-h1 and LdHairy) signaling genes. As a result, larval development was postponed and larval growth was inhibited. Intriguingly, knockdown of Ldchico, rather than Ldpi3k92E, impaired larval-pupal and pupal-adult ecdysis, and specifically repressed transcription of another 20E signaling gene LdUSP. Ingestion of 20E rescued the expression of LdEcR, LdHR3 and LdE75, whereas 20E feeding restored neither the decreased LdUSP mRNA level, nor the reduced pupation and adult emergence rates in Ldchico RNAi larvae. Therefore, Chico is critical for the regulation of larval-pupal-adult transition by a PI3K-independent pathway, perhaps through activation of USP in L. decemlineata.

Galimberti A, Alyokhin A. J Econ Entomol. 2018;111(3):1261-1267. doi: 10.1093/jee/toy046.

Mineral oil is a product used to reduce Potato Virus Y transmission in potato fields. However, there is little information available about other effects that oil may have on insect pests of potato. To better understand how mineral oil affects potato pests, we performed a series of experiments testing the effects of oil on mortality, behavior, and development of potato aphids, Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Thomas) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), green peach aphids, Myzus persicae (Sulzer) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), and Colorado potato beetles, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). All three species showed negative behavioral responses to oil-treated potato foliage. Oil treatment also increased aphid mortality. Colorado potato beetle mortality was not affected, but developing on oil-treated potato plants resulted in prolonged development and smaller adults. Additionally, oil acted synergistically with the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae); Colorado potato beetle larvae were killed more rapidly when sprayed with both products compared with when sprayed with B. bassiana alone. Based on these results, mineral oil has the potential for expanded use in potato IPM programs.

Wraight SP, Ramos ME. 2017. J Invertebr Pathol. 144:47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2017.01.007.

Studies were undertaken to further characterize the previously identified synergistic activity of Bacillus thuringiensis- and Beauveria bassiana-based biopesticides against Colorado potato beetle (CPB). A flowable concentrate of B. thuringiensis morrisoni strain tenebrionis (Bt) (Novodor® FC) and a wettable powder of B. bassiana strain GHA (Bb) (Mycotrol® 22WP) were applied against CPB larval populations infesting potato in field plots. Novodor FC and an oil-dispersion formulation of Bb (Mycotrol ES) were applied against second-instar CPB larvae on potted potato plants in greenhouse tests under low relative humidity (RH), variable-temperature conditions. Each pathogen was applied alone and in combination (tank-mixed) with the other pathogen. In the field tests, each biopesticide was also combined with the spray-carrier (formulation without active ingredient) of the other pathogen. Results from the greenhouse tests showed that under warm, dry conditions, low activity of Mycotrol was counterbalanced by high activity of the Novodor, and under cool, somewhat more humid conditions, low Novodor activity was balanced by high activity of Mycotrol, with the result being a constant level of synergism (CPB mortality ca. 20 percentage points higher than predicted by independent action). Similar levels of synergism were observed under the markedly different conditions of the field and greenhouse environments, and the synergism was confirmed as arising from interaction of the two microbes, as the Bt spray carrier had no significant effect on efficacy of the Mycotrol product and the Bb spray carrier had no effect on the efficacy of Novodor. The great capacity of these two control agents to act in concert to control CPB is well documented (the fast-acting, toxic Bt acting to protect potato crops from defoliation and the slow-acting Bb reducing survival to the adult stage). These finding further underscore the strong complementary action of these agents applied jointly against CPB.

Gabaston J, El-Khawand T, Waffo-Teguo P, et al. Journal of Pest Science. 2018;91(2):897-906. doi: 10.1007/s10340-018-0956-2.

Stilbenes are phenolic compounds which are produced in large amounts in vine and are involved in plant defence as phytoalexins. Oligomeric forms have recently proven to be the most active compounds against a wide range of parasites such as fungi, bacteria or algae. The aim of this study was to investigate the activity of a grapevine root extract which is a stilbene oligomer pool against Leptinotarsa decemlineata, a major pest of Solanaceae crops. Analysis by UHPLC-DAD-MS of the stilbene-enriched extract obtained from grapevine root (Riparia Gloire de Montpellier rootstock) highlighted twelve stilbenes at 25% (w/w). The major stilbenes found in root extract were isolated such as the tetramers vitisin B, vitisin A and hopeaphenol; the dimers ampelopsin A and E-ε-viniferin and the monomer E-resveratrol. The insecticidal effects of this extract as well as the main compounds were investigated against L. decemlineata larvae. The extract caused chronic toxicity, inhibited larval development and, to a lesser extent, inhibited food intake. The high concentrations of vitisin A and vitisin B in grapevine root contributed to this effect as they are the most toxic compounds. Outdoor pot experiments revealed the efficacy of stilbene-enriched extract with high mortality of L. decemlineata and protection of potato plants. The extract also revealed an absence of toxicity against non-targeted organisms such as earthworms (Eisenia fetida). Thus, these results strongly suggest that grapevine roots are a promising source of bioactive stilbenes for the development of natural insecticides.

Clements J, Schoville S, Peterson N, Huseth AS, Que L, Groves RL. Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2017;135:35-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2016.07.001.

The Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), is a major agricultural pest of potatoes in the Central Sands production region of Wisconsin. Previous studies have shown that populations of L. decemlineata have become resistant to many classes of insecticides, including the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid. Furthermore, L. decemlineata has multiple mechanisms of resistance to deal with a pesticide insult, including enhanced metabolic detoxification by cytochrome p450s and glutathione S-transferases. With recent advances in the transcriptomic analysis of imidacloprid susceptible and resistant L. decemlineata populations, it is possible to investigate the role of candidate genes involved in imidacloprid resistance. A recently annotated transcriptome analysis of L. decemlineata was obtained from select populations of L. decemlineata collected in the Central Sands potato production region, which revealed a subset of mRNA transcripts constitutively up-regulated in resistant populations. We hypothesize that a portion of the up-regulated transcripts encoding for genes within the resistant populations also encode for pesticide resistance and can be suppressed to re-establish a susceptible phenotype. In this study, a discrete set of three up-regulated targets were selected for RNA interference experiments using a resistant L. decemlineata population. Following the successful suppression of transcripts encoding for a cytochrome p450, a cuticular protein, and a glutathione synthetase protein in a select L. decemlineata population, we observed reductions in measured resistance to imidacloprid that strongly suggest these genes control essential steps in imidacloprid metabolism in these field populations.

Rainio MJ, Margus A, Lehmann P, Helander M, Lindström L. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C, Toxicology & Pharmacology. 2019;215:47-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2018.09.005.

Glyphosate is the globally most used herbicide against a wide range of weeds. Glyphosate has been considered safe to animals as it mainly targets physiological pathways in plants. However, recent toxicological studies have revealed that glyphosate can cause various toxic effects also on animals. In this study, we investigated the direct toxic effects of a glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH, Roundup® Bio) on (1) survival and (2) oxidative status of a non-target herbivore by using Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), originating from Poland and USA, as model species. Larvae were randomly divided into three groups: (1) high concentration (100% Roundup Bio, 360 g/l), (2) low concentration (1.5% Roundup Bio) and (3) control group (water). Larvae were exposed to Roundup for different time periods: 2 h, 24 h, 48 h, 72 h and 96 h. Larval survival decreased in the group treated with high concentration of GBH compared to controls, whereas the low concentration group did not differ from the control group. GBH treatment had no association with oxidative status biomarkers (i.e. catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione and glutathione related enzymes), but increased lipid hydroperoxide levels after 2 h exposure, suggesting increased oxidative damage soon after the exposure. Larvae of different origin also differed in their oxidative status, indicating population-dependent differences in antioxidant defence system. Environmentally relevant concentrations of GBH are not likely to affect larval survival, but high concentrations can reduce survival and increase oxidative damage of non-target herbivores. Also, populations of different origin and pesticide usage history can differ in their tolerance to GBH.

Andrés MF, Rossa GE, Cassel E, et al. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2017;109:1086-1092.

In this study we evaluated the effect of a pressure gradient (1-2 atm) in the extraction and composition of the essential oil (EO) of Piper hispidinervum by steam distillation. We also evaluated the insect antifeedant effects (Spodoptera littoralis, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, Myzus persicae and Rhopalosiphum padi) and nematicidal activity (Meloidogyne javanica) of the oils, their major components and their synergistic interactions. Safrole was the major component (78-81%) followed by terpinolene (5-9%). The EOs tested were effective insect antifeedants. Safrole, explained most of the insect antifeedant action of P. hispidinervum EOs. When safrole and terpinolene were tested in binary combinations, low ratios of safrole improved the antifeedant effects of terpinolene. P. hispidinervum EOs caused higher mortality of M. javanica juveniles than their major components. In binary combinations, low ratios of terpinolene increased the nematicidal effects of safrole. The EO treatment strongly suppressed nematode egg hatching and juvenile infectivity. P. hispidinervum EOs affected the germination of S. lycopersicum and L. sativa mostly at 24 h of treatment, being L. sativa the most sensitive. Safrole moderately affected germination and root growth of L. sativa, S. lycopersicum and L. perenne. Terpinolene only affected S. lycopersicum root growth.

Morin MD, Lyons PJ, Crapoulet N, Boquel S, Morin PJ. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(12):2728. doi: 10.3390/ijms18122728.

The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say)) is a significant pest of potato plants that has been controlled for more than two decades by neonicotinoid imidacloprid. L. decemlineata can develop resistance to this agent even though the molecular mechanisms underlying this resistance are not well characterized. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short ribonucleic acids that have been linked to response to various insecticides in several insect models. Unfortunately, the information is lacking regarding differentially expressed miRNAs following imidacloprid treatment in L. decemlineata. In this study, next-generation sequencing and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) were used to identify modulated miRNAs in imidacloprid-treated versus untreated L. decemlineata. This approach identified 33 differentially expressed miRNAs between the two experimental conditions. Of interest, miR-282 and miR-989, miRNAs previously shown to be modulated by imidacloprid in other insects, and miR-100, a miRNA associated with regulation of cytochrome P450 expression, were significantly modulated in imidacloprid-treated beetles. Overall, this work presents the first report of a miRNA signature associated with imidacloprid exposure in L. decemlineata using a high-throughput approach. It also reveals interesting miRNA candidates that potentially underly imidacloprid response in this insect pest.

Kaplanoglu E, Chapman P, Scott IM, Donly C. Scientific Reports. 2017;7(5):1762. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01961-4.

Current control of insect pests relies on chemical insecticides, however, insecticide resistance development by pests is a growing concern in pest management. The main mechanisms for insecticide resistance typically involve elevated activity of detoxifying enzymes and xenobiotic transporters that break-down and excrete insecticide molecules. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of imidacloprid resistance in the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), an insect pest notorious for its capacity to develop insecticide resistance rapidly. We compared the transcriptome profiles of imidacloprid-resistant and sensitive beetle strains and identified 102 differentially expressed transcripts encoding detoxifying enzymes and xenobiotic transporters. Of these, 74 were up-regulated and 28 were down-regulated in the resistant strain. We then used RNA interference to knock down the transcript levels of seven up-regulated genes in the resistant beetles. Ingestion of double-stranded RNA successfully knocked down the expression of the genes for three cytochrome P450s (CYP6BQ15, CYP4Q3 and CYP4Q7), one ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter (ABC-G), one esterase (EST1), and two UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGT1 and UGT2). Further, we demonstrated that silencing of CYP4Q3 and UGT2 significantly increased susceptibility of resistant beetles to imidacloprid, indicating that overexpression of these two genes contributes to imidacloprid resistance in this resistant strain.