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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #242053

Title: Genes Encoding Phospholipases A2 Mediate Insect Nodulation Reactions to Bacterial Challenge

item SHRESTHA, SONY - Andong National University
item PARK, YOONSEONG - Kansas State University
item Stanley, David
item KIM, YONGGYUN - Andong National University

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
Citation: Shrestha, S., Park, Y., Stanley, D.W., Kim, Y. 2010. Genes encoding phospholipases A2 mediate insect nodulation reactions to bacterial challenge. Journal of Insect Physiology. 56(3):324-332.

Interpretive Summary: Application of classical insecticides has introduced severe problems in agricultural sustainability. The concept of biological control of insects is a potentially powerful alternative to classical insecticides. Biological control is based on the idea that direct application of insect-specific pathogens and parasites can reduce pest insect populations and the economic damage due to pest insects. The problem, however, is the efficiency of these organisms in biological control programs is limited by insect immune defense reactions to challenge. One approach to improving the efficiency of biocontrol agents would be to somehow disable insect immune reactions to viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. With this goal, we are investigating how insect immune reactions to infection are signaled. In this paper we report on identification of biological signals that are responsible for stimulating insect defenses to infection. This new research will be directly useful to scientists who are working to improve the efficacy of biological control methods. The ensuing improved biological control methods will benefit a wide range of agricultural producers by supporting the long-term sustainability of agriculture.

Technical Abstract: We propose that expression of four genes encoding secretory phospholipases A2 (sPLA2) mediates insect nodulation responses to bacterial infection. Nodulation is the quantitatively predominant cellular defense reaction to bacterial infection. This reaction is mediated by eicosanoids, the biosynthesis of which depends on PLA2-catalyzed hydrolysis of arachidonic acid (AA) from cellular phospholipids. Injecting late-instar larvae of the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, with the bacterium, Escherichia coli, stimulated nodulation reactions and sPLA2 activity in time- and dose-related manners. Nodulation was inhibited by pharmaceutical inhibitors of enzymes involved in eicosanoid biosynthesis, which was rescued by AA. We cloned five genes encoding sPLA2 and expressed them in E. coli cells to demonstrate these genes encode catalytically active sPLA2s. The recombinant sPLA2s were inhibited by sPLA2 inhibitors. Injecting larvae with double stranded RNAs specific to each of the five genes led to reduced expression of the corresponding sPLA2 genes and to reduced nodulation reactions to bacterial infections for four of the five genes. The reduced nodulation was rescued by AA, indicating that expression of four genes encoding sPLA2s mediates nodulation reactions. A polyclonal antibody that reacted with all five sPLA2s showed the presence of the sPLA2 enzymes in hemocytes and revealed that the enzymes were more closely associated with hemocyte plasma membranes following infection. Identifying specific sPLA2 genes that mediate nodulation reactions strongly supports our hypothesis that sPLA2s are central enzymes in insect cellular immune reactions.