Susceptibility of Spodoptera frugiperda and S. exigua to Bacillus thuringiensis Vip3Aa insecticidal protein

J Invertebr Pathol. 2012 Jul;110(3):334-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2012.03.021. Epub 2012 Mar 23.


The Vip3Aa protein is an insecticidal protein secreted by Bacillus thuringiensis during the vegetative stage of growth. The activity of this protein has been tested after different steps/protocols of purification using Spodoptera frugiperda as a control insect. The results showed that the Vip3Aa protoxin was stable and retained full toxicity after being subjected to common biochemical steps used in protein purification. Bioassays with the protoxin in S. frugiperda and S. exigua showed pronounced differences in LC(50) values when mortality was measured at 7 vs. 10d. At 7d most live larvae were arrested in their development. LC(50) values of "functional mortality" (dead larvae plus larvae remaining in the first instar), measured at 7d, were similar or even lower than the LC(50) values of mortality at 10d. This strong growth inhibition was not observed when testing the trypsin-activated protein (62 kDa) in either species. S. exigua was less susceptible than S. frugiperda to the protoxin form, with LC(50) values around 10-fold higher. However, both species were equally susceptible to the trypsin-activated form. Processing of Vip3Aa protoxin to the activated form was faster with S. frugiperda midgut juice than with S. exigua midgut juice. The results strongly suggest that the differences in the rate of activation of the Vip3Aa protoxin between both species are the basis for the differences in susceptibility towards the protoxin form.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / metabolism
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Proteins* / chemistry
  • Biological Assay
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Insecticides* / chemistry
  • Larva / microbiology
  • Lethal Dose 50
  • Longevity
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Species Specificity
  • Spodoptera / growth & development
  • Spodoptera / microbiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Insecticides
  • Vip3A protein, Bacillus thuringiensis