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Predicting the insecticide-driven mutations in a crop pest insect: Evidence for multiple polymorphisms of acetylcholinesterase gene with potential relevance for resistance to chemicals

  • Renault, David
  • Elfiky, Abdo
  • Mohamed, Amr
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-022-23309-w
PMID: 36219281
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-03826934v1
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The silverleaf whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius, 1889) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) is a serious invasive herbivorous insect pest worldwide. The excessive use of pesticides has progressively selected B. tabaci specimens, reducing the effectiveness of the treatments, and ultimately ending in the selection of pesticide-resistant strains. The management of this crop pest has thus become challenging owing to the level of resistance to all major classes of recommended insecticides. Here, we used in silico techniques for detecting sequence polymorphisms in ace1 gene from naturally occurring B. tabaci variants, and monitor the presence and frequency of the detected putative mutations from 30 populations of the silverleaf whitefly from Egypt and Pakistan. We found several point mutations in ace1-type acetylcholinesterase (ace1) in the studied B. tabaci variants naturally occurring in the field. By comparing ace1 sequence data from an organophosphate-susceptible and an organophosphate-resistant strains of B. tabaci to ace1 sequence data retrieved from GenBank for that species and to nucleotide polymorphisms from other arthropods, we identified novel mutations that could potentially influence insecticide resistance. Homology modeling and molecular docking analyses were performed to determine if the mutation-induced changes in form 1 acetylcholinesterase (AChE1) structure could confer resistance to carbamate and organophosphate insecticides. Mutations had small effects on binding energy (Delta G(b)) interactions between mutant AChE1 and insecticides; they altered the conformation of the peripheral anionic site of AChE1, and modified the enzyme surface, and these changes have potential effects on the target-site sensitivity. Altogether, the results from this study provide information on genic variants of B. tabaci ace1 for future monitoring insecticide resistance development and report a potential case of environmentally driven gene variations.

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