Two point mutations (V419L and L925I) in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel α-subunit gene have been identified in deltamethrin-resistant bed bugs. A quantitative sequencing (QS) protocol was developed to establish a population-based genotyping method as a molecular resistance-monitoring tool based on the frequency of the two mutations. The nucleotide signal ratio at each mutation site was generated from sequencing chromatograms and plotted against the corresponding resistance allele frequency. Frequency prediction equations were generated from the plots by linear regression, and the signal ratios were shown to highly correlate with resistance allele frequencies (r2 > 0.9928). As determined by QS, neither mutation was found in a bed bug population collected in 1993. Populations collected in recent years (2007–2009), however, exhibited completely or nearly saturating L925I mutation frequencies and highly variable frequencies of the V419L mutation. In addition to QS, the filter contact vial bioassay (FCVB) method was established and used to determine the baseline susceptibility and resistance of bed bugs to deltamethrin and λ-cyhalothrin. A pyrethroid-resistant strain showed >9,375- and 6,990-fold resistance to deltamethrin and λ-cyhalothrin, respectively. Resistance allele frequencies in different bed bug populations predicted by QS correlated well with the FCVB results, confirming the roles of the two mutations in pyrethroid resistance. Taken together, employment of QS in conjunction with FCVB should greatly facilitate the detection and monitoring of pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs in the field. The advantages of FCVB as an on-site resistance-monitoring tool are discussed.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4