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Integrating Circadian Activity and Gene Expression Profiles to Predict Chronotoxicity of Drosophila suzukii Response to Insecticides

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068472
  • Research Article
  • Agriculture
  • Agricultural Biotechnology
  • Agrochemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Pest Control
  • Integrated Control
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Biology
  • Anatomy And Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Model Organisms
  • Animal Models
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Agricultural Science
  • Biology


Native to Southeast Asia, Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) is a recent invader that infests intact ripe and ripening fruit, leading to significant crop losses in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Since current D. suzukii management strategies rely heavily on insecticide usage and insecticide detoxification gene expression is under circadian regulation in the closely related Drosophila melanogaster, we set out to determine if integrative analysis of daily activity patterns and detoxification gene expression can predict chronotoxicity of D. suzukii to insecticides. Locomotor assays were performed under conditions that approximate a typical summer or winter day in Watsonville, California, where D. suzukii was first detected in North America. As expected, daily activity patterns of D. suzukii appeared quite different between ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ conditions due to differences in photoperiod and temperature. In the ‘summer’, D. suzukii assumed a more bimodal activity pattern, with maximum activity occurring at dawn and dusk. In the ‘winter’, activity was unimodal and restricted to the warmest part of the circadian cycle. Expression analysis of six detoxification genes and acute contact bioassays were performed at multiple circadian times, but only in conditions approximating Watsonville summer, the cropping season, when most insecticide applications occur. Five of the genes tested exhibited rhythmic expression, with the majority showing peak expression at dawn (ZT0, 6am). We observed significant differences in the chronotoxicity of D. suzukii towards malathion, with highest susceptibility at ZT0 (6am), corresponding to peak expression of cytochrome P450s that may be involved in bioactivation of malathion. High activity levels were not found to correlate with high insecticide susceptibility as initially hypothesized. Chronobiology and chronotoxicity of D. suzukii provide valuable insights for monitoring and control efforts, because insect activity as well as insecticide timing and efficacy are crucial considerations for pest management. However, field research is necessary for extrapolation to agricultural settings.

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