Fabio Apone, Alessandra Ruggiero, Assunta Tortora, Annalisa Tito, Maria Rosaria Grimaldi, Stefania Arciello, Davide Andrenacci, Ilaria Di Lelio, Gabriella Colucci
Journal of Insect Science 14 (87), 1-16, (1 July 2014) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.014.87
KEYWORDS: insect pest, G protein coupled receptors, RNA interference, molecular target
The cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis Boisduval (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is one of the most devastating pests of crops worldwide. Several types of treatments have been used against this pest, but many of them failed because of the rapid development of genetic resistance in the different insect populations. G protein coupled receptors have vital functions in most organisms, including insects; thus, they are appealing targets for species-specific pest control strategies. Among the insect G protein coupled receptors, the diuretic hormone receptors have several key roles in development and metabolism, but their importance in vivo and their potential role as targets of novel pest control strategies are largely unexplored. With the goal of using DHR genes as targets to control S. littoralis, we cloned a corticotropin-releasing factor-like binding receptor in this species and expressed the corresponding dsRNA in tobacco plants to knock down the receptor activity in vivo through RNA interference. We also expressed the receptor in mammalian cells to study its signaling pathways. The results indicate that this diuretic hormone receptor gene has vital roles in S. littoralis and represents an excellent molecular target to protect agriculturallyimportant plants from this pest.