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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EICOSANOID-MEDIATED AND MOLECULAR IMMUNE SIGNALING INHIBITORS IN PIERCING/SUCKING INSECT PESTS OF SMALL AND URBAN VEGETABLE FARMS

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: Eicosanoids up-regulate production of reactive oxygen species by NADPH-dependent oxidase in Spodoptera exigua phagocytic hemocytes

Author
item Park, Youngjin
item Stanley, David
item Kim, Yonggyun

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/9/2015
Publication Date: 6/10/2015
Citation: Park, Y., Stanley, D.W., Kim, Y. 2015. Eicosanoids up-regulate production of reactive oxygen species by NADPH-dependent oxidase in Spodoptera exigua phagocytic hemocytes. Journal of Insect Physiology. 79:63-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2015.06.005.

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 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 and users by supporting the long-term sustainability of agriculture.

Technical Abstract: Eicosanoids mediate cellular immune responses in insects, including phagocytosis of invading microbes. Phagocytosis entails two major steps, the internalization of microbes and the subsequent killing of them via formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we posed the hypothesis that eicosanoids mediate ROS production by activating NADPH-dependent oxidase (NOX) and tested the idea in the model insect, Spodoptera exigua. A NOX gene (we named SeNOX4) was identified and cloned, yielding a full open reading frame encoding 547 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular weight of 63,410 Da and an isoelectric point at 9.28. A transmembrane domain and a large intracellular domain containing NADPH and FAD-binding sites were predicted. Phylogenetic analysis indicated SeNOX4 clusters with other NOX4 genes. SeNOX4 was expressed in all life stages except eggs, and exclusively in hemocytes. Bacterial challenge and, separately, arachidonic acid (AA, a precursor of eicosanoid biosynthesis) injection increased its expression. The internalization step was inhibited by dsRNA suppression of SeNOX4 expression and, separately by dexamethasone (DEX, a specific inhibitor of eicosanoid biosynthesis) treatments. However, injecting AA to dsSeNOX4-treated larvae did not rescue the phagocytic activity. Hemocytic ROS production increased following bacterial challenge, which was sharply reduced in dsSeNOX4-treated, and separately, in DEX-treated larvae. AA partially reversed the suppressed ROS production in dsSeNOX4-treated larvae. Treating larvae with either the ROS-suppressing dsSeNOX4 construct or DEX rendered experimental larvae unable to inhibit bacterial proliferation in their hemocoels. We infer that eicosanoids mediate ROS production during phagocytosis by inducing SeNOX4.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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