Role of the Trichoderma harzianum endochitinase gene, ech42, in mycoparasitism. (1/1154)

The role of the Trichoderma harzianum endochitinase (Ech42) in mycoparasitism was studied by genetically manipulating the gene that encodes Ech42, ech42. We constructed several transgenic T. harzianum strains carrying multiple copies of ech42 and the corresponding gene disruptants. The level of extracellular endochitinase activity when T. harzianum was grown under inducing conditions increased up to 42-fold in multicopy strains as compared with the wild type, whereas gene disruptants exhibited practically no activity. The densities of chitin labeling of Rhizoctonia solani cell walls, after interactions with gene disruptants were not statistically significantly different than the density of chitin labeling after interactions with the wild type. Finally, no major differences in the efficacies of the strains generated as biocontrol agents against R. solani or Sclerotium rolfsii were observed in greenhouse experiments.  (+info)

Overexpression of the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Cry2Aa2 protein in chloroplasts confers resistance to plants against susceptible and Bt-resistant insects. (2/1154)

Evolving levels of resistance in insects to the bioinsecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can be dramatically reduced through the genetic engineering of chloroplasts in plants. When transgenic tobacco leaves expressing Cry2Aa2 protoxin in chloroplasts were fed to susceptible, Cry1A-resistant (20,000- to 40,000-fold) and Cry2Aa2-resistant (330- to 393-fold) tobacco budworm Heliothis virescens, cotton bollworm Helicoverpa zea, and the beet armyworm Spodoptera exigua, 100% mortality was observed against all insect species and strains. Cry2Aa2 was chosen for this study because of its toxicity to many economically important insect pests, relatively low levels of cross-resistance against Cry1A-resistant insects, and its expression as a protoxin instead of a toxin because of its relatively small size (65 kDa). Southern blot analysis confirmed stable integration of cry2Aa2 into all of the chloroplast genomes (5, 000-10,000 copies per cell) of transgenic plants. Transformed tobacco leaves expressed Cry2Aa2 protoxin at levels between 2% and 3% of total soluble protein, 20- to 30-fold higher levels than current commercial nuclear transgenic plants. These results suggest that plants expressing high levels of a nonhomologous Bt protein should be able to overcome or at the very least, significantly delay, broad spectrum Bt-resistance development in the field.  (+info)

Specific binding of the E2 subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase to the upstream region of Bacillus thuringiensis protoxin genes. (3/1154)

During sporulation, Bacillus thuringiensis produces inclusions comprised of different amounts of several related protoxins, each with a unique specificity profile for insect larvae. A major class of these genes designated cry1 have virtually identical dual overlapping promoters, but the upstream sequences differ. A gel retardation assay was used to purify a potential regulatory protein which bound with different affinities to these sequences in three cry1 genes. It was identified as the E2 subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase. There was specific competition for binding by homologous gene sequences but not by pUC nor Bacillus subtilis DNA; calf thymus DNA competed at higher concentrations. The B. thuringiensis gene encoding E2 was cloned, and the purified glutathione S-transferase-E2 fusion protein footprinted to a consensus binding sequence within an inverted repeat and to a potential bend region, both sites 200-300 base pairs upstream of the promoters. Mutations of these sites in the cry1A gene resulted in decreased binding of the E2 protein and altered kinetics of expression of a fusion of this regulatory region with the lacZ gene. Recruitment of the E2 subunit as a transcription factor could couple the change in post exponential catabolism to the initiation of protoxin synthesis.  (+info)

Can vector control play a useful supplementary role against bancroftian filariasis? (4/1154)

A single campaign of mass treatment for bancroftian filariasis with diethylcarbamazine (DEC) in Makunduchi, a town in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania, combined with elimination of mosquito breeding in pit latrines with polystyrene beads was followed by a progressive decline over a 5-year period in the microfilarial rate from 49% to 3%. Evidence that vector control had contributed to this long-term decline was obtained by comparison with another town, Moga, where a DEC campaign was used without vector control and where resurgence of microfilariae could be observed 3-6 years after the campaign. In Zanzibar town, treatment of 3844 wet pit latrines and cesspits with polystyrene beads reduced the adult mosquito population in houses by about 65%. Supplementary treatment of open drains and marshes with Bacillus sphaericus produced little or no additional reduction compared to a sector of the town where only pit treatment with polystyrene was carried out. The cost and effort of achieving the 65% reduction in mosquito population could hardly be justified for its impact on filariasis alone, but its noticeable impact on biting nuisance might help to gain community support for an integrated programme.  (+info)

Photorhabdus luminescens W-14 insecticidal activity consists of at least two similar but distinct proteins. Purification and characterization of toxin A and toxin B. (5/1154)

Both the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens alone and its symbiotic Photorhabdus-nematode complex are known to be highly pathogenic to insects. The nature of the insecticidal activity of Photorhabdus bacteria was investigated for its potential application as an insect control agent. It was found that in the fermentation broth of P. luminescens strain W-14, at least two proteins, toxin A and toxin B, independently contributed to the oral insecticidal activity against Southern corn rootworm. Purified toxin A and toxin B exhibited single bands on native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and two peptides of 208 and 63 kDa on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The native molecular weight of both the toxin A and toxin B was determined to be approximately 860 kDa, suggesting that they are tetrameric. NH2-terminal amino acid sequencing and Western analysis using monospecific antibodies to each toxin demonstrated that the two toxins were distinct but homologous. The oral potency (LD50) of toxin A and toxin B against Southern corn rootworm larvae was determined to be similar to that observed with highly potent Bt toxins against lepidopteran pests. In addition, it was found that the two peptides present in toxin B could be processed in vitro from a 281-kDa protoxin by endogenous P. luminescens proteases. Proteolytic processing was shown to enhance insecticidal activity.  (+info)

Integrative model for binding of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins in susceptible and resistant larvae of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella). (6/1154)

Insecticidal crystal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis in sprays and transgenic crops are extremely useful for environmentally sound pest management, but their long-term efficacy is threatened by evolution of resistance by target pests. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is the first insect to evolve resistance to B. thuringiensis in open-field populations. The only known mechanism of resistance to B. thuringiensis in the diamondback moth is reduced binding of toxin to midgut binding sites. In the present work we analyzed competitive binding of B. thuringiensis toxins Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F to brush border membrane vesicles from larval midguts in a susceptible strain and in resistant strains from the Philippines, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Based on the results, we propose a model for binding of B. thuringiensis crystal proteins in susceptible larvae with two binding sites for Cry1Aa, one of which is shared with Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F. Our results show that the common binding site is altered in each of the three resistant strains. In the strain from the Philippines, the alteration reduced binding of Cry1Ab but did not affect binding of the other crystal proteins. In the resistant strains from Hawaii and Pennsylvania, the alteration affected binding of Cry1Aa, Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F. Previously reported evidence that a single mutation can confer resistance to Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac, and Cry1F corresponds to expectations based on the binding model. However, the following two other observations do not: the mutation in the Philippines strain affected binding of only Cry1Ab, and one mutation was sufficient for resistance to Cry1Aa. The imperfect correspondence between the model and observations suggests that reduced binding is not the only mechanism of resistance in the diamondback moth and that some, but not all, patterns of resistance and cross-resistance can be predicted correctly from the results of competitive binding analyses of susceptible strains.  (+info)

Regional differences in production of aflatoxin B1 and cyclopiazonic acid by soil isolates of aspergillus flavus along a transect within the United States. (7/1154)

Soil isolates of Aspergillus flavus from a transect extending from eastern New Mexico through Georgia to eastern Virginia were examined for production of aflatoxin B1 and cyclopiazonic acid in a liquid medium. Peanut fields from major peanut-growing regions (western Texas; central Texas; Georgia and Alabama; and Virginia and North Carolina) were sampled, and fields with other crops were sampled in regions where peanuts are not commonly grown. The A. flavus isolates were identified as members of either the L strain (n = 774), which produces sclerotia that are >400 micrometer in diameter, or the S strain (n = 309), which produces numerous small sclerotia that are <400 micrometer in diameter. The S-strain isolates generally produced high levels of aflatoxin B1, whereas the L-strain isolates were more variable in aflatoxin production; variation in cyclopiazonic acid production also was greater in the L strain than in the S strain. There was a positive correlation between aflatoxin B1 production and cyclopiazonic acid production in both strains, although 12% of the L-strain isolates produced only cyclopiazonic acid. Significant differences in production of aflatoxin B1 and cyclopiazonic acid by the L-strain isolates were detected among regions. In the western half of Texas and the peanut-growing region of Georgia and Alabama, 62 to 94% of the isolates produced >10 microgram of aflatoxin B1 per ml. The percentages of isolates producing >10 microgram of aflatoxin B1 per ml ranged from 0 to 52% in the remaining regions of the transect; other isolates were often nonaflatoxigenic. A total of 53 of the 126 L-strain isolates that did not produce aflatoxin B1 or cyclopiazonic acid were placed in 17 vegetative compatibility groups. Several of these groups contained isolates from widely separated regions of the transect.  (+info)

Ecological approaches and the development of "truly integrated" pest management. (8/1154)

Recent predictions of growth in human populations and food supply suggest that there will be a need to substantially increase food production in the near future. One possible approach to meeting this demand, at least in part, is the control of pests and diseases, which currently cause a 30-40% loss in available crop production. In recent years, strategies for controlling pests and diseases have tended to focus on short-term, single-technology interventions, particularly chemical pesticides. This model frequently applies even where so-called integrated pest management strategies are used because in reality, these often are dominated by single technologies (e.g., biocontrol, host plant resistance, or biopesticides) that are used as replacements for chemicals. Very little attention is given to the interaction or compatibility of the different technologies used. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that such approaches rarely yield satisfactory results and are unlikely to provide sustainable pest control solutions for the future. Drawing on two case histories, this paper demonstrates that by increasing our basic understanding of how individual pest control technologies act and interact, new opportunities for improving pest control can be revealed. This approach stresses the need to break away from the existing single-technology, pesticide-dominated paradigm and to adopt a more ecological approach built around a fundamental understanding of population biology at the local farm level and the true integration of renewable technologies such as host plant resistance and natural biological control, which are available to even the most resource-poor farmers.  (+info)