Analytical biochemistry

Fluorometric microplate assay to measure glutathione S-transferase activity in insects and mites using monochlorobimane.

PMID 11950219


Elevated levels of glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) play a major role as a mechanism of resistance to insecticides and acaricides in resistant pest insects and mites, respectively. Such compounds are either detoxicated directly via phase I metabolism or detoxicated by phase II metabolism of metabolites as formed by microsomal monooxygenases. Here we used monochlorobimane (MCB) as an artificial substrate and glutathione to determine total GST activity in equivalents of single pest insects and spider mites in a sensitive 96-well plate-based assay system by measuring the enzymatic conversion of MCB to its fluorescent bimane-glutathione adduct. The differentiation by their GST activity between several strains of the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae), with different degrees of resistance to numerous acaricides was more sensitive with MCB compared to the commonly used substrate 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB). Compared to an acaricide-susceptible reference strain, one field population of T. urticae showed a more than 10-fold higher GST activity measured with MCB, in contrast to a less than 2-fold higher activity when CDNB was used. Furthermore, we showed that GST activity can be sensitively assessed with MCB in homogenates of pest insects such as Heliothis virescens, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae), and Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae).

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Monochlorobimane, suitable for fluorescence, ≥70.0% (HPCE)