July 19, 2019  |  

Continuous evolution of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins overcomes insect resistance.

The Bacillus thuringiensis d-endotoxins (Bt toxins) are widely used insecticidal proteins in engineered crops that provide agricultural, economic, and environmental benefits. The development of insect resistance to Bt toxins endangers their long-term effectiveness. Here we have developed a phage-assisted continuous evolution selection that rapidly evolves high-affinity protein-protein interactions, and applied this system to evolve variants of the Bt toxin Cry1Ac that bind a cadherin-like receptor from the insect pest Trichoplusia ni (TnCAD) that is not natively bound by wild-type Cry1Ac. The resulting evolved Cry1Ac variants bind TnCAD with high affinity (dissociation constant Kd?=?11-41?nM), kill TnCAD-expressing insect cells that are not susceptible to wild-type Cry1Ac, and kill Cry1Ac-resistant T. ni insects up to 335-fold more potently than wild-type Cry1Ac. Our findings establish that the evolution of Bt toxins with novel insect cell receptor affinity can overcome insect Bt toxin resistance and confer lethality approaching that of the wild-type Bt toxin against non-resistant insects.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic sequences of five Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus genotypes from Spain that differ in their insecticidal properties.

Helicoverpa armigera nucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV) has proved effective as the basis for various biological insecticides. Complete genome sequences of five Spanish HearNPV genotypes differed principally in the homologous regions (hrs) and the baculovirus repeat open reading frame (bro) genes, suggesting that they may be involved in the phenotypic differences observed among genotypes. Copyright © 2015 Arrizubieta et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Photorhabdus temperata subsp. thracensis 39-8(T), an entomopathogenic bacterium for the improved commercial bioinsecticide.

Photorhabdus temperata subsp. thracensis 39-8(T), a symbiotic bacterium from an entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, is a novel bacterium harboring insect pathogenicity. Herein, we present the complete genome sequence of strain 39-8(T), which consists of one circular chromosome of 5,147,098bp with a GC content of 44.10%. This genetic information will provide insights into biotechnological applications of the genus Photorhabdus producing insecticidal toxins, leading to the enhanced commercial bioinsecticide in agricultural pest control. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

The complete genome sequence of Bacillus thuringiensis serovar Hailuosis YWC2-8.

Bacillus thuringiensis, a typical aerobic, Gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, is an important microbial insecticide widely used in the control of agricultural pests. B. thuringiensis serovar Hailuosis YWC2-8 with high insecticidal activity against Diptera and Lepidoptera insects has three insecticidal crystal protein genes, such as cry4Cb2, cry30Ea2, and cry56Aa1. In this study, the complete genome sequence of B. thuringiensis YWC2-8 was analyzed, which contains one circular gapless chromosome and six circular plasmids. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of extrachromosomal elements in Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis.

Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis is one of the most important microorganisms used against mosquitoes. It was intensively studied following its discovery and became a model bacterium of the B. thuringiensis species. Those studies focused on toxin genes, aggregation-associated conjugation, linear genome phages, etc. Recent announcements of genomic sequences of different strains have not been explicitly related to the biological properties studied. We report data on plasmid content analysis of four strains using ultra-high-throughput sequencing. The strains were commercial product isolates, with their putative ancestor and type B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strain sequenced earlier. The assembled contigs corresponding to published and novel data were assigned to plasmids described earlier in B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis and other B. thuringiensis strains. A new 360 kb plasmid was identified, encoding multiple transporters, also found in most of the earlier sequenced strains. Our genomic data show the presence of two toxin-coding plasmids of 128 and 100 kb instead of the reported 225 kb plasmid, a co-integrate of the former two. In two of the sequenced strains, only a 100 kb plasmid was present. Some heterogeneity exists in the small plasmid content and structure between strains. These data support the perception of active plasmid exchange among B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis strains in nature. Copyright © 2016 Institut Pasteur. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

An improved genome assembly of Azadirachta indica A. Juss.

Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), an evergreen tree of the Meliaceae family, is known for its medicinal, cosmetic, pesticidal and insecticidal properties. We had previously sequenced and published the draft genome of the plant, using mainly short read sequencing data. In this report, we present an improved genome assembly generated using additional short reads from Illumina and long reads from Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencer. We assembled short reads and error corrected long reads using Platanus, an assembler designed to perform well for heterozygous genomes. The updated genome assembly (v2.0) yielded 3- and 3.5-fold increase in N50 and N75, respectively; 2.6-fold decrease in the total number of scaffolds; 1.25-fold increase in the number of valid transcriptome alignments; 13.4-fold less mis-assembly and 1.85-fold increase in the percentage repeat, over the earlier assembly (v1.0). The current assembly also maps better to the genes known to be involved in the terpenoid biosynthesis pathway. Together, the data represents an improved assembly of the A. indica genome. The raw data described in this manuscript are submitted to the NCBI Short Read Archive under the accession numbers SRX1074131, SRX1074132, SRX1074133, and SRX1074134 (SRP013453). Copyright © 2016 Author et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

The draft genome of whitefly Bemisia tabaci MEAM1, a global crop pest, provides novel insights into virus transmission, host adaptation, and insecticide resistance.

The whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is among the 100 worst invasive species in the world. As one of the most important crop pests and virus vectors, B. tabaci causes substantial crop losses and poses a serious threat to global food security. We report the 615-Mb high-quality genome sequence of B. tabaci Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1), the first genome sequence in the Aleyrodidae family, which contains 15,664 protein-coding genes. The B. tabaci genome is highly divergent from other sequenced hemipteran genomes, sharing no detectable synteny. A number of known detoxification gene families, including cytochrome P450s and UDP-glucuronosyltransferases, are significantly expanded in B. tabaci. Other expanded gene families, including cathepsins, large clusters of tandemly duplicated B. tabaci-specific genes, and phosphatidylethanolamine-binding proteins (PEBPs), were found to be associated with virus acquisition and transmission and/or insecticide resistance, likely contributing to the global invasiveness and efficient virus transmission capacity of B. tabaci. The presence of 142 horizontally transferred genes from bacteria or fungi in the B. tabaci genome, including genes encoding hopanoid/sterol synthesis and xenobiotic detoxification enzymes that are not present in other insects, offers novel insights into the unique biological adaptations of this insect such as polyphagy and insecticide resistance. Interestingly, two adjacent bacterial pantothenate biosynthesis genes, panB and panC, have been co-transferred into B. tabaci and fused into a single gene that has acquired introns during its evolution.The B. tabaci genome contains numerous genetic novelties, including expansions in gene families associated with insecticide resistance, detoxification and virus transmission, as well as numerous horizontally transferred genes from bacteria and fungi. We believe these novelties likely have shaped B. tabaci as a highly invasive polyphagous crop pest and efficient vector of plant viruses. The genome serves as a reference for resolving the B. tabaci cryptic species complex, understanding fundamental biological novelties, and providing valuable genetic information to assist the development of novel strategies for controlling whiteflies and the viruses they transmit.


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