Insect juvenile hormone resistance gene homology with the bHLH-PAS family of transcriptional regulators

Mudgapalli Ashok, Christopher Turner, Thomas G. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

220 Scopus citations

Abstract

Juvenile hormone analog (JHA) insecticides are relatively nontoxic to vertebrates and offer effective control of certain insect pests. Recent reports of resistance in whiteflies and mosquitoes demonstrate the need to identify and understand genes for resistance to this class of insect growth regulators. Mutants of the Methoprene-tolerant (Met) gene in Drosophila melanogaster show resistance to both JHAs and JH, and previous biochemical studies have demonstrated a mechanism of resistance involving an intracellular JH binding-protein that has reduced ligand affinity in Met flies. We cloned the Met+ gene by transposable P-element tagging and found reduced transcript level in several mutant alleles, showing that underproduction of the normal gene product can lead to insecticide resistance. Transformation of Met flies with a Met+ cDNA resulted in susceptibility to methoprene, indicating that the cDNA encodes a functional Met+ protein. MET shows homology to the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH)-PAS family of transcriptional regulators, implicating MET in the action of JH at the gene level in insects. This family also includes the vertebrate dioxin receptor, a transcriptional regulator known to bind a variety of environmental toxicants. Because JHAs include a diverse array of chemicals with JH activity, a mechanism whereby they can exert effects in insects through a common pathway is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2761-2766
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume95
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 17 1998

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