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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.

Kryukov, V. Y., M. R. Kabilov, N. Smirnova, O. G. Tomilova, M. V. Tyurin, Y. B. Akhanaev, O. V. Polenogova, V. P. Danilov, S. K. Zhangissina, T. Alikina, O. N. Yaroslavtseva, V. V. Glupov, Fungal Biology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2019.09.012

Strains of entomopathogenic fungi may have substantial differences in their final stages of mycosis. Insect cadavers are usually overgrown with mycelium after colonization of the insect body, but in many cases, bacterial decomposition of the colonized hosts occurs. We used two Metarhizium robertsii strains in the work: Mak-1 (cadavers become overgrown with mycelium and conidia) and P-72 (cadavers decay after fungal colonization). We conducted a comparative analysis of gut and cadaver microbiota in Colorado potato beetle larvae using 16S rRNA gene sequencing after infection with these strains. In addition, we estimated the content of different forms of nitrogen in cadavers and the influence of cadavers on the growth of Solanum lycopersicum on sand substrates under laboratory conditions. It was shown that infections did not lead to a significant shift in the midgut bacterial communities of infected insects compared to those of untreated insects. Importantly, bacterial communities were similar in both types of cadaver, with predominantly enterobacteria. Decomposing cadavers (P-72) were characterized by increased nitrate and ammonium, and they had a stronger growth-promoting effect on plants compared to cadavers overgrown with mycelium and conidia (Mak-1). We also estimated the colonization and growth of plants after treatment with conidia of both strains cultivated on artificial medium. Both cultures successfully colonized plants, but strain P-72 showed stronger growth promotion than Mak-1. We propose that the use of deviant strains that are unable to sporulate on cadavers leads to a faster (though only passive) flow of nitrogen from killed insects to plants.

Krey, K. L., C. K. Blubaugh, J. T. Van Leuven, and W. E. Snyder. Environmental Entomology, nvz123, https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvz123

Soil chemistry and microbial diversity can impact the vigor and nutritive qualities of plants, as well as plants’ ability to deploy anti-herbivore defenses. Soil qualities often vary dramatically on organic versus conventional farms, reflecting the many differences in soil management practices between these farming systems. We examined soil-mediated effects on herbivore performance by growing potato plants (Solanum tuberosum L.) in soils collected from organic or conventional commercial farm fields, and then exposing these plants to herbivory by green peach aphids (Myzus persicae Sulzer, Hemiptera: Aphididae) and/or Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Responses of the two potato pests varied dramatically. Survivorship of Colorado potato beetles was almost 3× higher on plants grown in organic than in conventional soils, but was unaffected by the presence of aphids. In contrast, aphid colony growth was twice as rapid when aphids were reared alone rather than with Colorado potato beetles, but was unaffected by soil type. We saw no obvious differences in soil nutrients when comparing organic and conventional soils. However, we saw a higher diversity of bacteria in organic soils, and potato plants grown in this soil had a lower carbon concentration in foliar tissue. In summary, the herbivore species differed in their susceptibility to soil- versus competitor-mediated effects, and these differences may be driven by microbe-mediated changes in host plant quality. Our results suggest that soil-mediated effects on pest growth can depend on herbivore species and community composition, and that soil management strategies that promote plant health may also increase host quality for pests.

Naqqash, M. N., A. Gökçe, E. Aksoy, A. Bakhsh. Chemosphere, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.124857

Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is the important pest of potato all over the world. This insect pest is resistant to more than 50 active compounds belonging to various chemical groups. Potential of RNA interference (RNAi) was explored to knock down transcript levels of imidacloprid resistant genes in Colorado potato beetle (CPB) under laboratory conditions. Three important genes belonging to cuticular protein (CP), cytochrome P450 monoxygenases (P450) and glutathione synthetase (GSS) families encoding imidacloprid resistance were targeted. Feeding bio-assays were conducted on various stages of imidacloprid resistant CPB lab population by applying HT115 expressing dsRNA on potato leaflets. Survival rate of insects exposed to CP-dsRNA decreased to 4.23%, 15.32% and 47.35% in 2nd, 3rd and 4th instar larvae respectively. Larval weight and pre-adult duration were also affected due to dsRNAs feeding. Synergism of RNAi with imidacloprid conducted on the 2nd instar larvae, exhibited 100% mortality of larvae when subjected to reduced doses of GSS and CP dsRNAs along with imidacloprid. Utilization of three different dsRNAs against imidacloprid resistant CPB population reveal that dsRNAs targeting CP, P450 and GSS enzymes could be useful tool in management of imidacloprid resistant CPB populations.

García-Robles, I., De Loma, J., Capilla, M., Roger, I., Boix-Montesinos, P., Carrión, P., Vicente, M., López-Galiano, MJ, Real, MD, Rausell, C. Developmental & Comparative Immunology DOI: 10.1016/j.dci.2019.103525

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins constitute effective, environmentally safe biopesticides. Nevertheless, insects' tolerance to Bt is influenced by environmental factors affecting immunity. To understand larval immune response in the devastating coleopteran insect pest Colorado potato beetle (CPB), we undertook a proteomic analysis of hemolymph of non-treated control larvae and larvae consuming non-lethal doses of spore-crystal mixtures containing the coleopteran-active Cry3Aa toxin. Results revealed lower amount of proteins involved in insect growth and higher amount of immune response-related proteins in challenged insects, sustaining the larval weight loss observed. Additionally, we found a potential regulatory role of the evolutionary conserved miR-8 in the insect's immune response relying on antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) production. Upon toxin challenge, different patterns of hemolymph AMPs expression and phenoloxidase activity were observed in CPB larvae reared on different Solanaceae plants. This suggests that diet and diet-associated insect midgut microbiota might modulate this insects' tolerance to non-lethal doses of Bt.

Nguyen D, Poeschl Y, Lortzing T, et al. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018;19(12):3845.

In nature, plants are frequently subjected to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses, resulting in a convergence of adaptive responses. We hypothesised that hormonal signalling regulating defences to different herbivores may interact with drought responses, causing distinct resistance phenotypes. To test this, we studied the hormonal and transcriptomic responses of Solanum dulcamara subjected to drought and herbivory by the generalist Spodoptera exigua (beet armyworm; BAW) or the specialist Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle; CPB). Bioassays showed that the performance of BAW, but not CPB, decreased on plants under drought compared to controls. While drought did not alter BAW-induced hormonal responses, it enhanced the CPB-induced accumulation of jasmonic acid and salicylic acid (SA), and suppressed ethylene (ET) emission. Microarray analyses showed that under drought, BAW herbivory enhanced several herbivore-induced responses, including cell-wall remodelling and the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and secondary metabolites. In contrast, CPB herbivory enhanced several photosynthesis-related and pathogen responses in drought-stressed plants. This may divert resources away from defence production and increase leaf nutritive value. In conclusion, while BAW suffers from the drought-enhanced defences, CPB may benefit from the effects of enhanced SA and reduced ET signalling. This suggests that the fine-tuned interaction between the plant and its specialist herbivore is sustained under drought.

Crossley MS, Schoville SD, Haagenson DM, Jansky SH. J Econ Entomol. 2018;111(4):1875-1884. doi: 10.1093/jee/toy120.

Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is a serious global pest of potato, Solanum tuberosum L. Management of L. decemlineata has relied heavily on insecticides, but repeated evolution of insecticide resistance has motivated the exploration and development of alternative strategies, such as plant resistance. The recent development of two diploid potato families derived from crosses between cultivated and wild potato species (S. chacoense and S. berthaultii) has provided a unique opportunity to reexamine plant traits for resistance breeding. In this 2-yr study, we surveyed select F2 clones for the induction of L. decemlineata mortality and a reduction in defoliation in no-choice feeding assays when challenged with adults and larvae from three sites in Wisconsin. We tested for an association with glandular trichome density and foliar levels of the glycoalkaloids chaconine and solanine. Several potato clones demonstrated resistance in specific feeding assays, but none excelled consistently across experiments. Mortality and defoliation generally differed significantly among L. decemlineata populations, which could be indicative of heritable variation in beetle responses to plant defenses or variation in the physiological status of the beetle populations tested. Contrary to expectations, higher trichome density increased mortality or decreased defoliation in only a few cases, and levels of mortality and defoliation were unrelated to foliar glycoalkaloid content, warranting further investigation of the defense mechanisms of resistant clones. In addition to identifying several potential L. decemlineata resistance sources, this study underscores the need to include multiple insect populations in surveys of plant resistance to this diverse pest.

Cingel A, Savić J, Lazarević J, et al. Insect Science. 2017;24(5):768-780. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12364.

Colorado potato beetle (CPB; Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say, Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) has shown a remarkable adaptability to a variety of control measures. Although oryzacystatin I and II (OCI and OCII) have potential in controlling pests that use cysteine proteinases for food digestion, expression of a single OC gene in potato exhibited a minimal or no effect on CPB fitness traits. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of coexpressed OCI and OCII in potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) cultivars Desiree, Dragačevka and Jelica on CPB larvae. Growth parameters, consumption rates and food utilization, as well as activity of proteases of CPB larvae were assayed. Second and third instar larvae fed on transformed leaves molted earlier and had higher relative growth and consumption rates than larvae fed on nontransformed leaves, while efficiency of food utilization was unaffected. In contrast, fourth instar maximum weight gain and amount of leaves consumed were about 20% lower for the larvae fed on transgenic potato. Analysis of total protease activity of third instar larvae revealed reduction in overall proteolytic activity measured by azocasein hydrolysis, accompanied with inhibition of cysteine proteinase activity 24 h after ingestion of potato leaves expressing OCI and OCII. However, after long-term feeding on transformed leaves proteolytic activities of larvae became similar to the controls. Although feeding on OCI/OCII leaves did not affect larval survival, coexpression of OC genes reduced the development time and thus significantly decreased plant damage caused by CPB larvae.

Izzo VM, Chen YH, Schoville SD, Cong W, Hawthorne DJ. J Econ Entomol. 2018;111(2):868-878. doi: 10.1093/jee/tox367.

Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say [Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae]) is a pest of potato throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but little is known about the beetle's origins as a pest. We sampled the beetle from uncultivated Solanum host plants in Mexico, and from pest and non-pest populations in the United States and used mitochondrial DNA and nuclear loci to examine three hypotheses on the origin of the pest lineages: (1) the pest beetles originated from Mexican populations, (2) they descended from hybridization between previously divergent populations, or (3) they descended from populations that are native to the Plains states in the United States. Mitochondrial haplotypes of non-pest populations from Mexico and Arizona differed substantially from beetles collected from the southern plains and potato fields in the United States, indicating that beetles from Mexico and Arizona did not contribute to founding the pest lineages. Similar results were observed for AFLP and microsatellite data. In contrast, non-pest populations from the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas were genetically similar to U.S. pest populations, indicating that they contributed to the founding of the pest lineages. Most of the pest populations do not show a significant reduction in genetic diversity compared to the plains populations in the United States. We conclude that genetically heterogeneous beetle populations expanded onto potato from native Solanum hosts. This mode of host range expansion may have contributed to the abundant genetic diversity of contemporary populations, perhaps contributing to the rapid evolution of climate tolerance, host range, and insecticide resistance.

Xu QY, Meng QW, Deng P, Fu KY, Guo WC, Li GQ. Insect Mol Biol. 2018;27(4):439-453. doi: 10.1111/imb.12384.

Two Drosophila melanogaster E-twenty-six domain transcription factor isoforms (E74A and E74B) act differentially at the start of the 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) signalling cascade to regulate larval-pupal metamorphosis. In the present paper, we identified the two isoforms (LdE74A and LdE74B) in Leptinotarsa decemlineata. During the larval development stage, the mRNA transcript levels of the two LdE74 isoforms were correlated with circulating 20E titres. In vitro midgut culture and in vivo dietary supplementation with 20E revealed that the presence of 20E induced expression peaks of both LdE74A and LdE74B, with similar patterns observed for the two isoforms. Moreover, the mRNA transcript levels of both LdE74A and LdE74B isoforms were significantly downregulated in the L. decemlineata ecdysone receptor RNA interference (RNAi) specimens, but not in the LdE75 RNAi beetles. Ingestion of 20E reduced the larval fresh weights and shortened the larval development period, irrespective of knockdown of LdE74 or not. RNAi of LdE74 did not affect 20E-induced expression of the Ecdysone induced protein 75-hormone receptor 3-fushi tarazu factor 1 (E75-HR3-FTZ-F1) transcriptional cascade. Thus, it seems that LdE74 mediates 20E signalling independent of the E75-HR3-FTZ-F1 transcriptional cascade. Furthermore, silencing of both LdE74 isoforms caused failure of ecdysis. Most of the LdE74 RNAi beetles remained as prepupae. The LdE74 RNAi prepupae exhibited adult character-like forms underneath after removal of the apolysed larval cuticle. Their appendages such as antennae, legs and wings were shorter than those of control larvae. Only a few LdE74 RNAi larvae finally became deformed pupae, with shortened antennae and legs. Therefore, LdE74 is required for larval-pupal metamorphosis and appendage growth in L. decemlineata.