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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Research Project #442833

Research Project: Receptor Inference: A Novel IPM Technology for Managing Key Insect Pests of Vegetables in California

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Project Number: 2038-22000-020-010-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2024

Thrips and diamondback moth are two of the most economically important insect pests of major vegetable crops in Monterey County, and challenges that are associated with their management include an increasing dependency on high-risk chemistries and concerns of resistance developing to existing materials. Therefore, the development of novel IPM strategies is urgently needed to improve the management of both insects, while minimizing the use of high-risk pesticides and potential for resistance to develop. One novel and emerging strategy involves exploiting insect G Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) as targets for new pesticides. This proposal seeks to develop Receptor-interference technology for the management of thrips and diamondback moth affecting lettuce and brassica crops.

Three initial phases towards developing Receptor-interference technology for western flower thrips and diamondback moth will be executed. Phase 1 (Discovery): Identify genes encoding GPCRs in western flower thrips and diamondback moth; Phase 2 (Synthesis): Express up to ten peptides from each insect and conduct binding tests to their respective GPCRs in vitro; Phase 3 (Efficacy): Test up to five purified GPCR peptides for their activity in suppressing WFT and DBM using injection and feeding studies under laboratory and greenhouse conditions.