The beta pore-forming bacterial pesticidal protein Tpp78Aa1 is toxic to the Asian citrus psyllid vector of the citrus greening bacterium

J Invertebr Pathol. 2024 Jun:204:108122. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2024.108122. Epub 2024 May 6.


The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) Diaphorina citri transmits the causative agent of huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, that has decimated global citrus production. Pesticidal proteins derived from bacteria such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can provide effective and environmentally friendly alternatives for management of D. citri, but few with sufficient toxicity to D. citri have been identified. Here, we report on the toxicity of 14 Bt-derived pesticidal proteins from five different structural groups against D. citri. These proteins were selected based on previously reported toxicity to other hemipteran species and on pesticidal protein availability. Most of the proteins were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified from inclusion bodies or His-tag affinity purification, while App6Aa2 was expressed in Bt and purified from spore/crystal mixtures. Pesticidal proteins were initially screened by feeding psyllids on a single dose, and lethal concentration (LC50) then determined for proteins with significantly greater mortality than the buffer control. The impact of CLas infection of D. citri on toxicity was assessed for selected proteins via topical feeding. The Bt protein Tpp78Aa1 was toxic to D. citri adults with an LC50 of approximately 204 µg/mL. Nymphs were more susceptible to Tpp78Aa1 than adults but no significant difference in susceptibility was observed between healthy and CLas-infected nymphs or adults. Tpp78Aa1 and other reported D. citri-active proteins may provide valuable tools for suppression of D. citri populations.

Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Diaphorina citri; Huanglongbing; Pesticidal proteins; Tpp78Aa1.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Citrus / microbiology
  • Hemiptera* / microbiology
  • Insect Vectors
  • Insecticides
  • Pest Control, Biological*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology

Supplementary concepts

  • Diaphorina citri