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. 2020 May;76(5):1831-1840.
doi: 10.1002/ps.5712. Epub 2020 Jan 3.

Inhibitor of apoptosis-1 Gene as a Potential Target for Pest Control and Its Involvement in Immune Regulation During Fungal Infection


Inhibitor of apoptosis-1 Gene as a Potential Target for Pest Control and Its Involvement in Immune Regulation During Fungal Infection

Wei Zhang et al. Pest Manag Sci. .


Background: Environmentally friendly insect management technologies, including RNA interference (RNAi) and entomopathogenic fungi, have attracted increasing attention as options for pest control. Here, we sought to extend RNAi-directed targeting of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1 (IAP1) gene to the locust, and to examine its relationship to immune responses and susceptibility to Metarhizium acridum, a locust-specific fungal pathogen.

Results: Expression of the locust LmIAP gene was induced in the hemolymph and fat body after M. acridum infection. RNAi-directed silencing of locust LmIAP1 resulted in increased caspase 3 activity, degeneration of the gut and dose-dependent mortality. Synergistic mortality was seen in RNAi-LmIAP/fungal co-infection experiments with median survival time (MST) values decreasing from ∼ 5 days for RNAi and M. acridum treatments alone, to 2.6 days for co-treatments. Reduced hemocyte numbers and antimicrobial peptide levels were seen in co-treated locusts, with changes in gut opportunistic pathogenic bacteria seen between treatments. Enhanced fungal sporulation on co-treated insect cadavers was also compared with fungal infection alone.

Conclusions: Silencing of the locust LmIAP1 gene results in direct mortality and increases insect susceptibility to insect fungal pathogens, in part by decreasing immunity and altering the gut microbiome. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: Locusta migratoria; RNAi; gut microbiome; inhibitor of apoptosis protein; innate immunity; pest control.

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