The 2362 strain of Bacillus sphaericus, which produces a binary toxin highly active against Culex mosquitoes, has been developed recently as a commercial larvicide. It is being used currently in operational mosquito control programs in several countries including Brazil, France, India, and the United States. Laboratory studies have shown that mosquitoes can develop resistance to B. sphaericus, and low levels of resistance have already been reported in field populations in Brazil, France, and India. To develop tools for resistance management, the Cyt1A protein of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis De Barjac was evaluated for its ability to suppress resistance to B. sphaericus in a highly resistant population of Culex quinquefasciatus Say. A combination of B. sphaericus 2362 in a 10:1 ratio with a strain of B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis that only produces Cyt1A reduced resistance by >30,000-fold. Resistance was suppressed completely when B. sphaericus was combined with purified Cyt1A crystals in a 10:1 ratio. Synergism was observed between the Cyt1A toxin and B. sphaericus against the resistant mosquito population and accounted for the marked reduction in resistance. However, no synergism was observed between the toxins against a nonresistant mosquito population. These results indicate that Cyt1A could be useful for managing resistance to B. sphaericus 2362 in Culex populations, and also provide additional evidence that Cyt1A may synergize toxicity by enhancing the binding to and insertion of toxins into the mosquito microvillar membrane.
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