Entomology, Department of


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Published in Insect Molecular Biology (2007) 16 (5), 591–600.


A cadherin-like gene associated with larval midgut tissues was cloned from western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera : Coleoptera), an economically important agricultural pest in North America and Europe and the primary target pest species for corn hybrids expressing Cry3 toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The full-length cDNA (5371 bp in length) encodes an open reading frame for a 1688 amino acid polypeptide. The putative protein has similar architecture to cadherin-like proteins isolated from lepidopteran midguts that have been shown to bind to Cry1 Bt toxins and have been implicated in Bt resistance. The D. v. virgifera cadherin-like gene is expressed primarily in the larval midgut and regulated during development, with high levels of expression observed in all instars and adults but not pupae. The corresponding genomic sequence spans more than 90 kb and is interspersed with 30 large introns. The genomic organization of the cadherin-like gene for this coleopteran species bears strong resemblance to lepidopteran cadherins suggesting a common molecular basis for susceptibility to Cry3 toxins in Coleoptera.

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