A selective insecticidal protein from Pseudomonas for controlling corn rootworms

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Science  04 Nov 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6312, pp. 634-637
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6056

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Soil microbes yield insecticidal peptide

The microbial peptide BT, derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, is widely used to protect crops from insect pests. Schellenberger et al. identified another insecticidal peptide from a different soil-dwelling bacterium, Pseudomonas chlororaphis (see the Perspective by Tabashnik). Corn plants expressing the Pseudomonas peptide were protected from attack by western corn rootworm. Rootworms that were resistant to BT were susceptible to the Pseudomonas peptide. Addition of another insecticidal peptide diversifies the arsenal against insect pests, which may slow down the development of resistance.

Science, this issue p. 634; see also p. 552


The coleopteran insect western corn rootworm (WCR) (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) is a devastating crop pest in North America and Europe. Although crop plants that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins can limit insect infestation, some insect populations have evolved resistance to Bt proteins. Here we describe an insecticidal protein, designated IPD072Aa, that is isolated from Pseudomonas chlororaphis. Transgenic corn plants expressing IPD072Aa show protection from WCR insect injury under field conditions. IPD072Aa leaves several lepidopteran and hemipteran insect species unaffected but is effective in killing WCR larvae that are resistant to Bt proteins produced by currently available transgenic corn. IPD072Aa can be used to protect corn crops against WCRs.

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