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1 June 2011 Modification of Hormonal Balance in Larvae of the Corn Borer Sesamia nonagrioides (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Due to Sublethal Bacillus thuringiensis Protein Ingestion
Meritxell Pérez-Hedo, Ramon Albajes, Matilde Eizaguirre
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Abstract

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn, Zea mays L., is highly efficient against the corn borer Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefèbvre) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) when the larvae feed only on the transgenic plants. However, when they feed on Bt leaves during only part of their development, thus ingesting sublethal amounts of Bt toxins, some larvae survive. A previous study reported a prolonged development and precocious diapause induction in larvae fed on a diet with sublethal amounts of Cry1Ab protein. To determine whether these effects were accompanied by a modification of the hormonal balance, S. nonagrioides larvae were fed on sublethal amounts of Bt protein provided in Bt leaves or in the diet. The larvae that survived had higher levels of juvenile hormone (JH), whereas their level of ecdysteroids did not increase sufficiently to allow pupation, leading to a longer larval development and more larval molts. This response may be considered a defense mechanism that allows some larvae to survive toxin ingestion; it is similar to the response to insecticidal toxins or viruses observed in other larvae. Changes in the hormone levels in diapausing larvae were undetectable, probably because these changes were masked by the higher level of JH in the hemolymph of diapausing larvae and because of lack of ecdysteroid titer increase, a phenomenon that is usually observed a few days before pupation in nondiapausing larvae. These results should be taken into account in the establishment of non-Bt refuges to prevent development of Bt-resistance in S. nonagrioides populations.

© 2011 Entomological Society of America
Meritxell Pérez-Hedo, Ramon Albajes, and Matilde Eizaguirre "Modification of Hormonal Balance in Larvae of the Corn Borer Sesamia nonagrioides (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Due to Sublethal Bacillus thuringiensis Protein Ingestion," Journal of Economic Entomology 104(3), 853-861, (1 June 2011). https://doi.org/10.1603/EC10449
Received: 17 December 2010; Accepted: 1 March 2011; Published: 1 June 2011
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