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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Dec;36(12):934-42. Epub 2006 Sep 23.

A comparison of Drosophila melanogaster detoxification gene induction responses for six insecticides, caffeine and phenobarbital.

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Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research (CESAR), Department of Genetics, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.


Modifications of metabolic pathways are important in insecticide resistance evolution. Mutations leading to changes in expression levels or substrate specificities of cytochrome P450 (P450), glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and esterase genes have been linked to many cases of resistance with the responsible enzyme shown to utilize the insecticide as a substrate. Many studies show that the substrates of enzymes are capable of inducing the expression of those enzymes. We investigated if this was the case for insecticides and the enzymes responsible for their metabolism. The induction responses for P450s, GSTs and esterases to six different insecticides were investigated using a custom designed microarray in Drosophila melanogaster. Even though these gene families can all contribute to insecticide resistance, their induction responses when exposed to insecticides are minimal. The insecticides spinosad, diazinon, nitenpyram, lufenuron and dicyclanil did not induce any P450, GST or esterase gene expression after a short exposure to high lethal concentrations of insecticide. DDT elicited the low-level induction of one GST and one P450. These results are in contrast to induction responses we observed for the natural plant compound caffeine and the barbituate drug phenobarbital, both of which highly induced a number of P450 and GST genes under the same short exposure regime. Our results indicate that, under the insecticide exposure conditions we used, constitutive over-expression of metabolic genes play more of a role in insect survival than induction of members of these gene families.

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