Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Ecol. 2013 Nov;22(22):5624-34. doi: 10.1111/mec.12502. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Molecular basis for insecticide-enhanced thermotolerance in the brown planthopper Nilaparvata lugens Stål (Hemiptera:Delphacidae).

Author information

School of Plant Protection, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225009, China.


Climate change is likely to have marked ecological effects on terrestrial ecosystems, including the activities of insect pests. Most attention has focused on the increasing geographical ranges of pests; however, if extrinsic factors enhance their thermotolerance, populations may express increased voltinism and longer daily and annual activity periods. These changes in pest populations have the potential for severe consequences, including increased crop losses and decreased food security at the global level. The brown planthopper (BPH) Nilaparvata lugens Stål (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) is a serious pest of rice crops in temperate and tropical regions of Asia. It is often present in rice microclimates at temperatures close to its maximum thermotolerance. Recent BPH outbreaks in tropical Asia are considered to be associated with excess use of pesticides and increasing temperature. This study tested whether exposure to sublethal concentrations of triazophos (tzp), an insecticide widely used in Asian rice production, enhances thermotolerance of BPH. Tzp exposure (40 ppm at 40 °C) significantly decreased mortality (from 94% in controls to 50% at 48 h post-treatment) and increased lethal mean time (LT50 ) of adults by 17.2 h. To investigate the underlying molecular mechanism of this tzp-enhanced thermotolerance, we selected Hsp70 and Arginine kinase (Argk) for detailed study. Transcripts encoding both proteins in third-instar nymphs and brachypterous adult females were up-regulated, compared with controls, after exposure to tzp. RNAi silencing of both genes demonstrated that Hsp70 and Argk are essential for survival and tzp-increased thermotolerance. We propose that tzp induces thermotolerance in BPHs by increasing the expression of genes that act in cell protection mechanisms. The significance of our proposal relates to the importance of understanding the influence of sublethal concentrations of insecticides on pest biology. In addition to its influence on thermotolerance, tzp also enhances BPH reproduction. We infer that exposure to a pesticide stressor can produce cross-tolerance, that is, increased tolerance to one stressor also increases tolerance to other stressors, including temperature. Aside from needing a better understanding of these effects in nature and in other pest/cropping systems, we suggest that pest management programmes can be improved with better understanding of the influences of stressors, including increased environmental temperatures and sublethal concentrations of insecticides, on pest biology.


arginine kinase; brown planthopper; heat-shock proteins; insecticides; thermotolerance

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center