Journal of insect science (Online)

Targeting the diuretic hormone receptor to control the cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis.

PMID 25368043


The cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis Boisduval (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is one of the most devastating pests of crops worldwide. Several types of treatments have been used against this pest, but many of them failed because of the rapid development of genetic resistance in the different insect populations. G protein coupled receptors have vital functions in most organisms, including insects; thus, they are appealing targets for species-specific pest control strategies. Among the insect G protein coupled receptors, the diuretic hormone receptors have several key roles in development and metabolism, but their importance in vivo and their potential role as targets of novel pest control strategies are largely unexplored. With the goal of using DHR genes as targets to control S. littoralis, we cloned a corticotropin-releasing factor-like binding receptor in this species and expressed the corresponding dsRNA in tobacco plants to knock down the receptor activity in vivo through RNA interference. We also expressed the receptor in mammalian cells to study its signaling pathways. The results indicate that this diuretic hormone receptor gene has vital roles in S. littoralis and represents an excellent molecular target to protect agriculturally-important plants from this pest.