MAPK-Activated Transcription Factor PxJun Suppresses PxABCB1 Expression and Confers Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ac Toxin in Plutella xylostella (L.)

Jianying Qin, Le Guo, Fan Ye, Shi Kang, Dan Sun, Liuhong Zhu, Yang Bai, Zhouqiang Cheng, Linzheng Xu, Chunzheng Ouyang, Lifeng Xiao, Shaoli Wang, Qingjun Wu, Xuguo Zhou, Neil Crickmore, Xiaomao Zhou, Zhaojiang Guo, Youjun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying insect resistance to Cry toxins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is pivotal for the sustainable utilization of Bt biopesticides and transgenic Bt crops. Previously, we identified that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-mediated reduced expression of the PxABCB1 gene is associated with Bt Cry1Ac resistance in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.). However, the underlying transcriptional regulation mechanism remains enigmatic. Here, the PxABCB1 promoter in Cry1Ac-susceptible and Cry1Ac-resistant P. xylostella strains was cloned and analyzed and found to contain a putative Jun binding site (JBS). A dual-luciferase reporter assay and yeast onehybrid assay demonstrated that the transcription factor PxJun repressed PxABCB1 expression by interacting with this JBS. The expression levels of PxJun were increased in the midguts of all resistant strains compared to the susceptible strain. Silencing of PxJun expression significantly elevated PxABCB1 expression and Cry1Ac susceptibility in the resistant NIL-R strain, and silencing of PxMAP4K4 expression decreased PxJun expression and also increased PxABCB1 expression. These results indicate that MAPK-activated PxJun suppresses PxABCB1 expression to confer Cry1Ac resistance in P. xylostella, deepening our understanding of the transcriptional regulation of midgut Cry receptor genes and the molecular basis of insect resistance to Bt Cry toxins. IMPORTANCE The transcriptional regulation mechanisms underlying reduced expression of Bt toxin receptor genes in Bt-resistant insects remain elusive. This study unveils that a transcription factor PxJun activated by the MAPK signaling pathway represses PxABCB1 expression and confers Cry1Ac resistance in P. xylostella. Our results provide new insights into the transcriptional regulation mechanisms of midgut Cry receptor genes and deepen our understanding of the molecular basis of insect resistance to Bt Cry toxins. To our knowledge, this study identified the first transcription factor that can be involved in the transcriptional regulation mechanisms of midgut Cry receptor genes in Bt-resistant insects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume87
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Keywords

  • ABCB1
  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Cry1Ac resistance
  • Jun
  • Plutella xylostella
  • transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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