Cytochrome P450-mediated detoxification is one of the most important mechanisms involved in insecticide resistance. However, the molecular basis of this mechanism and the physiological functions of P450s associated with insecticide resistance remain largely unknown. Here, we exploited the functional genomics and reverse genetic approaches to identify and characterize a P450 gene responsible for the majority of deltamethrin resistance observed in the QTC279 strain of Tribolium castaneum. We used recently completed whole-genome sequence of T. castaneum to prepare custom microarrays and identified a P450 gene, CYP6BQ9, which showed more than a 200-fold higher expression in the deltamethrin-resistant QTC279 strain when compared with its expression in the deltamethrin-susceptible Lab-S strain. Functional studies using both double-strand RNA (dsRNA)-mediated knockdown in the expression of CYP6BQ9 and transgenic expression of CYP6BQ9 in Drosophila melanogaster showed that CYP6BQ9 confers deltamethrin resistance. Furthermore, CYP6BQ9 enzyme expressed in baculovirus metabolizes deltamethrin to 4-hydroxy deltamethrin. Strikingly, we also found that unlike many P450 genes involved in insecticide resistance that were reported previously, CYP6BQ9 is predominantly expressed in the brain, a part of the central nervous system (CNS) containing voltage-gated sodium channels targeted by deltamethrin. Taken together, the current studies on the brain-specific insect P450 involved in deltamethrin resistance shed new light on the understanding of the molecular basis and evolution of insecticide resistance.

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Published in PNAS. (2010), v. 107, no. 19, p. 8557–8562.

Data deposition: The sequences reported in this paper have been deposited in the Gen- Bank database (accession nos. GU727868 and GU727869).

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Brain-specific cytochrome P450 pnas.201000059SI.pdf (637 kB)
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