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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Dec;42(12):918-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2012.09.003. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Using Drosophila melanogaster to validate metabolism-based insecticide resistance from insect pests.

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Department of Genetics and Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


Identifying molecular mechanisms of insecticide resistance is important for preserving insecticide efficacy, developing new insecticides and implementing insect control. The metabolic detoxification of insecticides is a widespread resistance mechanism. Enzymes with the potential to detoxify insecticides are commonly encoded by members of the large cytochrome P450, glutathione S-transferase and carboxylesterase gene families, all rapidly evolving in insects. Here, we demonstrate that the model insect Drosophila melanogaster is useful for functionally validating the role of metabolic enzymes in conferring metabolism-based insecticide resistance. Alleles of three well-characterized genes from different pest insects were expressed in transgenic D. melanogaster : a carboxylesterase gene (αE7) from the Australian sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina, a glutathione S-transferase gene (GstE2) from the mosquito Anopheles gambiae and a cytochrome P450 gene (Cyp6cm1) from the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. For all genes, expression in D. melanogaster resulted in insecticide resistance phenotypes mirroring those observed in resistant populations of the pest species. Using D. melanogaster to assess the potential for novel metabolic resistance mechanisms to evolve in pest species is discussed.

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