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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Biological Control of Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #381538

Research Project: Biologically-Based Products for Insect Pest Control and Emerging Needs in Agriculture

Location: Biological Control of Insects Research

Title: The prostanoids, thromboxanes, mediate hemocytic immunity to bacterial infection in the lepidopteran Spodoptera exigua

item AL BAKI, MD ABDULLAH - Andong National University
item ROY, MILTAN CHANDRA - Andong National University
item LEE, DONG-HEE - Andong National University
item Stanley, David
item KIM, YONGGYUN - Andong National University

Submitted to: Developmental and Comparative Immunology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2021
Publication Date: 3/16/2021
Citation: Al Baki, M., Roy, M., Lee, D., Stanley, D.W., Kim, Y. 2021. The prostanoids, thromboxanes, mediate hemocytic immunity to bacterial infection in the lepidopteran Spodoptera exigua. Developmental and Comparative Immunology. 120(7). Article 104069.

Interpretive Summary: Application of classical insecticides has introduced severe problems in agricultural sustainability, including insecticide resistance and environmental contamination. 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 the enzymes 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 and consumers by supporting the long-term sustainability of agriculture.

Technical Abstract: We report on a new insect prostanoid in a lepidopteran insect, Spodoptera exigua. Thromboxane B2 (TXB2) was detected by LC-MS/MS in extracts of larval epidermis, midgut, fat body and hemocytes, with highest amounts in hemocytes (about 300 ng/g tissue with substantial variation). Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) is an unstable intermediate that is non-enzymatically hydrolyzed into the stable TXB2 which mediates at least two cellular immune responses to bacterial infection, hemocyte-spreading behavior and nodule formation. At the molecular level, a TXA2 synthase (SeTXAS) was identified from a group of 139 S. exigua cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. SeTXAS was highly homologous to mammalian TXAS genes and is expressed in all developmental stages and four tested larval tissues. Immune challenge significantly enhanced SeTXAS expression, especially in fat body. RNA interference (RNAi) injections using gene-specific double stranded RNA led to reduced SeTXAS expression and suppressed the cellular immune responses, which were rescued following TXA2 or TXB2 injections. Unlike other PGs, TXA2 or TXB2 did not influence oocyte development in adult females. We infer that thromboxanes are present in insect tissues, where they mediate innate immune responses.