Mutations in the acetylcholinesterase gene of Bactrocera dorsalis associated with resistance to organophosphorus insecticides

Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 May;36(5):396-402. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2006.02.002. Epub 2006 Mar 2.


Mutations in the gene encoding the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) of the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis, associated with resistance to an organophosphorus insecticide have been characterized. Three point mutations producing nonsynonymous changes in the predicted amino acid sequence of the product of the B. dorsalis ace gene in resistant vs. susceptible flies have been identified. One of these changes is unique to B. dorsalis while the other two occur at sites that are identical to mutations previously described for another Bactrocera species. Although the precise role of the third mutation is not clearly established, the independent origin of two identical alterations in these two species strongly supports the idea proposed previously that molecular changes associated with insecticide resistance in key genes and enzymes such as AChE are largely constrained to a limited number of sites. The results obtained here also suggest that the widespread use of organophosphorus insecticides will likely lead to a predictable acquisition of resistance in wild populations of B. dorsalis as well as other pest species. For surveys of B. dorsalis populations that may develop resistance, diagnostic tests using PCR-RFLP based methods for detecting the presence of all three mutations in individual flies are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / genetics*
  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Fenitrothion / pharmacology*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insecticide Resistance / genetics
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Point Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Tephritidae / drug effects*
  • Tephritidae / enzymology
  • Tephritidae / genetics*


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Insect Proteins
  • Insecticides
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Fenitrothion