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Special Issue "Insecticidal Toxins"

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A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jean-Louis Schwartz

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, and Membrane Protein, Research Group (GÉPROM), Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montreal (Quebec), H3C 3J7, Canada
Interests: pore-forming toxins; biological control; cellular and molecular mode of action of insecticidal bacterial and plant toxins
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Laurence Després

Genetic Basis of Adaptation Group (GBA), Alpine Ecology Laboratory (LECA), UMR CNRS 5553, Université J. Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, Francef
Interests: population genetics; environmental biology; host-parasite coevolutionary processes; diptera resistance to bioinsecticides
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Célia Carlini

Department of Biophysics and Centre of Biotechnology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves 9500, CEP 91501-970, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Interests: toxic proteins and peptides; including insecticidal and antifungal proteins; lectins; proteinases and proteinase inhibitors; phospholipases; neurotoxins; toxins affecting blood coagulation; platelets; pro-inflammatory cells

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural and forestry crops continue to be significantly afflicted by insect pests, and insects, as disease vectors, remain a considerable threat to human and animal health worldwide. Furthermore, the landscape of pest control is shifting, with increasing concerns about sustainability of natural resources, climate change and pests and disease redistribution on the planet. Most pest control strategies rely on the use of chemical pesticides, with the inevitable onset of resistance and detrimental effects on biodiversity, on the environment and on public health. Biological alternatives ranging from classical biocontrol to the use of biological insecticides have been available for many years, but despite their well documented advantages over chemicals in terms of resistance development and respect of health and the environment, they still represent only a small fraction of the overall pest control effort, because of higher cost, higher labour intensiveness, lesser immediate efficiency and a rather slowly developing public awareness and demand. This special issue on Insecticidal Toxins intends to provide an overview on current progress made in the research and development of biologically based insecticides derived from bacteria, fungi, plants and arthropods. The biological aspects and issues will be addressed at the molecular, the cellular and the population levels. More specifically, it is expected that this issue of Toxins will constitute an update on topics like host biology, mode of action of insecticidal toxins, synergisms, cell responses to toxin aggression, host resistance, interguild interactions, environmental persistence, effects on non-target organisms, transgenic constructs, impact on human health, etc. Furthermore, the use of biological toxins as templates for synthetic insecticides will also be considered. Finally, the economic and social impact of the use of insecticidal toxins will be covered, e.g. public good vs. commercial approaches, regulatory policies, risk assessment, evaluation and communication, and users’ and public attitudes.

Prof. Dr. Jean-Louis Schwartz
Prof. Dr. Laurence Després
Prof. Dr. Célia Carlini
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • arthropod
  • bacterial toxin
  • biodiversity
  • biological control
  • biopesticide
  • detoxification
  • disease vector
  • economics
  • entomopathogen
  • environment
  • ethics
  • genetically modified organism
  • insect pest
  • microbial pesticide
  • mite
  • mode of action
  • nematode
  • plant toxin
  • protease
  • public health
  • public perception
  • regulation
  • resistance
  • risk
  • scorpion
  • specificity
  • spider
  • sustainability
  • synergism
  • transgenic organism
  • transgenic plant
  • venom

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Lengthening of Insect Development on Bt Zone Results in Adult Emergence Asynchrony: Does It Influence the Effectiveness of the High Dose/Refuge Zone Strategy?
Toxins 2012, 4(11), 1323-1342; doi:10.3390/toxins4111323
Received: 26 September 2012 / Revised: 6 November 2012 / Accepted: 6 November 2012 / Published: 15 November 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (437 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The “High Dose/Refuge” strategy (HD/R) is the currently recommended Insect Resistance Management strategy (IRM) to limit resistance development to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants. This strategy requires planting a “refuge zone” composed of non-Bt plants suitable for the target insect [...] Read more.
The “High Dose/Refuge” strategy (HD/R) is the currently recommended Insect Resistance Management strategy (IRM) to limit resistance development to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants. This strategy requires planting a “refuge zone” composed of non-Bt plants suitable for the target insect and in close proximity to a “Bt zone” expressing a high toxin concentration. One of the main assumptions is that enough susceptible adults mate with resistant insects. However, previous studies have suggested that the high toxin concentration produced by Bt plants induces slower insect development, creating an asynchrony in emergence between the refuge and the Bt zone and leading to assortative mating between adults inside each zone. Here, we develop a deterministic model to estimate the impact of toxin concentration, emergence asynchrony and refuge zone size on the effectiveness of the HD/R strategy. We conclude that emergence asynchrony only affects resistance when toxin concentration is high and resistance is recessive. Resistance develops more rapidly and survival of susceptible insects is higher at lower toxin concentration, but in such situations, resistance is insensitive to emergence asynchrony. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Effectiveness of the High Dose/Refuge Strategy for Managing Pest Resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Plants Expressing One or Two Toxins
Toxins 2012, 4(10), 810-835; doi:10.3390/toxins4100810
Received: 6 June 2012 / Revised: 21 September 2012 / Accepted: 8 October 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To delay resistance development to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants expressing their own insecticide, the application of the Insect Resistance Management strategy called “High Dose/Refuge Strategy” (HD/R) is recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This strategy was developed [...] Read more.
To delay resistance development to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants expressing their own insecticide, the application of the Insect Resistance Management strategy called “High Dose/Refuge Strategy” (HD/R) is recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This strategy was developed for Bt plants expressing one toxin. Presently, however, new Bt plants that simultaneously express two toxins are on the market. We used a mathematical model to evaluate the efficiency of the HD/R strategy for both these Bt toxins. As the current two-toxin Bt plants do not express two new Cry toxins but reuse one toxin already in use with a one-toxin plant, we estimated the spread of resistance when the resistance alleles are not rare. This study assesses: (i) whether the two toxins have to be present in high concentration, and (ii) the impact of the relative size of the refuge zone on the evolution of resistance and population density. We concluded that for Bt plants expressing one toxin, a high concentration is an essential condition for resistance management. For the pyramided Bt plants, one toxin could be expressed at a low titer if the two toxins are used for the first time, and a small refuge zone is acceptable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Two Varieties of Bacillus thuringiensis Maize on the Biology of Plodia interpunctella
Toxins 2012, 4(5), 373-389; doi:10.3390/toxins4050373
Received: 22 March 2012 / Revised: 16 May 2012 / Accepted: 16 May 2012 / Published: 24 May 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
On the market since 1996, genetically modified plants expressing an insecticidal toxin (Cry toxin stemmed from Bacillus thuringiensis) target several lepidopteran and coleopteran pests. In this study, we assessed the impact of two varieties of Bt maize producing different toxins (Cry1Ab [...] Read more.
On the market since 1996, genetically modified plants expressing an insecticidal toxin (Cry toxin stemmed from Bacillus thuringiensis) target several lepidopteran and coleopteran pests. In this study, we assessed the impact of two varieties of Bt maize producing different toxins (Cry1Ab or Cry1Fa, respectively) on the biology of a storage pest: Plodia interpunctella (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). The Indianmeal moths were susceptible to both toxins but showed an escape behavior only from Cry1Fa. The weight of females issued from larvae reared on Cry1Ab increased with increasing toxin concentration, but adults of both sexes reared on Cry1Fa had decreased weight. Both toxins increased development time from egg to adult regardless of sex and had no impact on the male adult lifespan. Finally, we recorded a time lag between metamorphosis from the non-Bt and the Bt diets, which increased proportionally to Cry concentration in the Bt diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Multimodal Protein Constructs for Herbivore Insect Control
Toxins 2012, 4(6), 455-475; doi:10.3390/toxins4060455
Received: 8 March 2012 / Revised: 1 June 2012 / Accepted: 5 June 2012 / Published: 12 June 2012
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (269 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transgenic plants expressing combinations of microbial or plant pesticidal proteins represent a promising tool for the efficient, durable control of herbivorous insects. In this review we describe current strategies devised for the heterologous co-expression of pesticidal proteins in planta, some of [...] Read more.
Transgenic plants expressing combinations of microbial or plant pesticidal proteins represent a promising tool for the efficient, durable control of herbivorous insects. In this review we describe current strategies devised for the heterologous co-expression of pesticidal proteins in planta, some of which have already shown usefulness in plant protection. Emphasis is placed on protein engineering strategies involving the insertion of single DNA constructs within the host plant genome. Multimodal fusion proteins integrating complementary pesticidal functions along a unique polypeptide are first considered, taking into account the structural constraints associated with protein or protein domain grafting to biologically active proteins. Strategies that allow for the co- or post-translational release of two or more pesticidal proteins are then considered, including polyprotein precursors releasing free proteins upon proteolytic cleavage, and multicistronic transcripts for the parallel translation of single protein-encoding mRNA sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessReview Toxins for Transgenic Resistance to Hemipteran Pests
Toxins 2012, 4(6), 405-429; doi:10.3390/toxins4060405
Received: 8 April 2012 / Revised: 16 May 2012 / Accepted: 25 May 2012 / Published: 4 June 2012
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The sap sucking insects (Hemiptera), which include aphids, whiteflies, plant bugs and stink bugs, have emerged as major agricultural pests. The Hemiptera cause direct damage by feeding on crops, and in some cases indirect damage by transmission of plant viruses. Current management [...] Read more.
The sap sucking insects (Hemiptera), which include aphids, whiteflies, plant bugs and stink bugs, have emerged as major agricultural pests. The Hemiptera cause direct damage by feeding on crops, and in some cases indirect damage by transmission of plant viruses. Current management relies almost exclusively on application of classical chemical insecticides. While the development of transgenic crops expressing toxins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has provided effective plant protection against some insect pests, Bt toxins exhibit little toxicity against sap sucking insects. Indeed, the pest status of some Hemiptera on Bt-transgenic plants has increased in the absence of pesticide application. The increased pest status of numerous hemipteran species, combined with increased prevalence of resistance to chemical insecticides, provides impetus for the development of biologically based, alternative management strategies. Here, we provide an overview of approaches toward transgenic resistance to hemipteran pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Figures

Open AccessReview Plant Insecticidal Toxins in Ecological Networks
Toxins 2012, 4(4), 228-243; doi:10.3390/toxins4040228
Received: 9 March 2012 / Revised: 21 March 2012 / Accepted: 26 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plant secondary metabolites play a key role in plant-insect interactions, whether constitutive or induced, C- or N-based. Anti-herbivore defences against insects can act as repellents, deterrents, growth inhibitors or cause direct mortality. In turn, insects have evolved a variety of strategies to [...] Read more.
Plant secondary metabolites play a key role in plant-insect interactions, whether constitutive or induced, C- or N-based. Anti-herbivore defences against insects can act as repellents, deterrents, growth inhibitors or cause direct mortality. In turn, insects have evolved a variety of strategies to act against plant toxins, e.g., avoidance, excretion, sequestration and degradation of the toxin, eventually leading to a co-evolutionary arms race between insects and plants and to co-diversification. Anti-herbivore defences also negatively impact mutualistic partners, possibly leading to an ecological cost of toxin production. However, in other cases toxins can also be used by plants involved in mutualistic interactions to exclude inadequate partners and to modify the cost/benefit ratio of mutualism to their advantage. When considering the whole community, toxins have an effect at many trophic levels. Aposematic insects sequester toxins to defend themselves against predators. Depending on the ecological context, toxins can either increase insects’ vulnerability to parasitoids and entomopathogens or protect them, eventually leading to self-medication. We conclude that studying the community-level impacts of plant toxins can provide new insights into the synthesis between community and evolutionary ecology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessReview Spider-Venom Peptides as Bioinsecticides
Toxins 2012, 4(3), 191-227; doi:10.3390/toxins4030191
Received: 31 January 2012 / Revised: 7 March 2012 / Accepted: 15 March 2012 / Published: 22 March 2012
Cited by 50 | PDF Full-text (893 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over 10,000 arthropod species are currently considered to be pest organisms. They are estimated to contribute to the destruction of ~14% of the world’s annual crop production and transmit many pathogens. Presently, arthropod pests of agricultural and health significance are controlled predominantly [...] Read more.
Over 10,000 arthropod species are currently considered to be pest organisms. They are estimated to contribute to the destruction of ~14% of the world’s annual crop production and transmit many pathogens. Presently, arthropod pests of agricultural and health significance are controlled predominantly through the use of chemical insecticides. Unfortunately, the widespread use of these agrochemicals has resulted in genetic selection pressure that has led to the development of insecticide-resistant arthropods, as well as concerns over human health and the environment. Bioinsecticides represent a new generation of insecticides that utilise organisms or their derivatives (e.g., transgenic plants, recombinant baculoviruses, toxin-fusion proteins and peptidomimetics) and show promise as environmentally-friendly alternatives to conventional agrochemicals. Spider-venom peptides are now being investigated as potential sources of bioinsecticides. With an estimated 100,000 species, spiders are one of the most successful arthropod predators. Their venom has proven to be a rich source of hyperstable insecticidal mini-proteins that cause insect paralysis or lethality through the modulation of ion channels, receptors and enzymes. Many newly characterized insecticidal spider toxins target novel sites in insects. Here we review the structure and pharmacology of these toxins and discuss the potential of this vast peptide library for the discovery of novel bioinsecticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessReview Host-Defense Activities of Cyclotides
Toxins 2012, 4(2), 139-156; doi:10.3390/toxins4020139
Received: 22 November 2011 / Revised: 25 January 2012 / Accepted: 31 January 2012 / Published: 15 February 2012
Cited by 29 | PDF Full-text (1267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cyclotides are plant mini-proteins whose natural function is thought to be to protect plants from pest or pathogens, particularly insect pests. They are approximately 30 amino acids in size and are characterized by a cyclic peptide backbone and a cystine knot arrangement [...] Read more.
Cyclotides are plant mini-proteins whose natural function is thought to be to protect plants from pest or pathogens, particularly insect pests. They are approximately 30 amino acids in size and are characterized by a cyclic peptide backbone and a cystine knot arrangement of three conserved disulfide bonds. This article provides an overview of the reported pesticidal or toxic activities of cyclotides, discusses a possible common mechanism of action involving disruption of biological membranes in pest species, and describes methods that can be used to produce cyclotides for potential applications as novel pesticidal agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessReview Plant Ureases and Related Peptides: Understanding Their Entomotoxic Properties
Toxins 2012, 4(2), 55-67; doi:10.3390/toxins4020055
Received: 1 December 2011 / Revised: 5 January 2012 / Accepted: 11 January 2012 / Published: 1 February 2012
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, ureases were included in the arsenal of plant defense proteins, alongside many other proteins with biotechnological potential such as insecticides. Isoforms of Canavalia ensiformis urease (canatoxin—CNTX and jack bean urease—JBURE-I) are toxic to insects of different orders. This toxicity is due [...] Read more.
Recently, ureases were included in the arsenal of plant defense proteins, alongside many other proteins with biotechnological potential such as insecticides. Isoforms of Canavalia ensiformis urease (canatoxin—CNTX and jack bean urease—JBURE-I) are toxic to insects of different orders. This toxicity is due in part to the release of a 10 kDa peptide from the native protein, by cathepsin-like enzymes present in the insect digestive tract. The entomotoxic peptide, Jaburetox-2Ec, exhibits potent insecticidal activity against several insects, including many resistant to the native ureases. JBURE-I and Jaburetox-2Ec cause major alterations of post-feeding physiological processes in insects, which contribute to, or can be the cause of, their entomotoxic effect. An overview of the current knowledge on plant urease processing and mechanisms of action in insects is presented in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)
Open AccessReview Pea Albumin 1 Subunit b (PA1b), a Promising Bioinsecticide of Plant Origin
Toxins 2011, 3(12), 1502-1517; doi:10.3390/toxins3121502
Received: 23 September 2011 / Revised: 24 November 2011 / Accepted: 30 November 2011 / Published: 8 December 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2084 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
PA1b (Pea Albumin 1, subunit b) is a peptide extract from pea seeds showing significant insecticidal activity against certain insects, such as cereal weevils (genus Sitophilus), the mosquitoes Culex pipiens and Aedes aegyptii, and certain species of aphids. PA1b has great [...] Read more.
PA1b (Pea Albumin 1, subunit b) is a peptide extract from pea seeds showing significant insecticidal activity against certain insects, such as cereal weevils (genus Sitophilus), the mosquitoes Culex pipiens and Aedes aegyptii, and certain species of aphids. PA1b has great potential for use on an industrial scale and for use in organic farming: it is extracted from a common plant; it is a peptide (and therefore suitable for transgenic applications); it can withstand many steps of extraction and purification without losing its activity; and it is present in a seed regularly consumed by humans and mammals without any known toxicity or allergenicity. The potential of this peptide to limit pest damage has stimulated research concerning its host range, its mechanism of action, its three-dimensional structure, the natural diversity of PA1b and its structure–function relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Toxins)

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