Enhanced metabolism and selection of pyrethroid-resistant western corn rootworms (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte)

Dariane Souza, Arnubio V. Jiménez, Gautam Sarath, Lance J. Meinke, Nicholas J. Miller, Blair D. Siegfried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Western corn rootworm (WCR) pyrethroid resistance has been previously reported in the United States (US) western Corn Belt, and cross-resistance and synergism studies suggested that both target site insensitivity and enhanced metabolism may be conferring WCR resistance to pyrethroids. The present study aimed to investigate the potential mechanisms of WCR pyrethroid resistance and to estimate the heritability of the resistance trait. Biochemical assays using model substrates and spectrophotometry revealed 2–4-fold higher activity of P450s and esterases in pyrethroid-resistant WCR populations, whereas the biological activity of glutathione S-transferase was similar between populations tested. No mutation in the voltage-gated sodium channel was detected in pyrethroid-resistant WCR individuals by sequencing PCR products containing the para-homologous L1014, T929, and M918 amino acid positions that are commonly associated with target site mutations in other pyrethroid-resistant insects. A pilot estimation of pyrethroid resistance heritability obtained during laboratory selection of a WCR population suggested a major genetic component of the resistance trait and predicted a 10-fold increase in WCR bifenthrin resistance within ~7 generations of insecticide lethal exposure. Results support earlier indirect evidence that enhanced metabolism may be contributing to WCR resistance to pyrethroids and illustrates the potential of WCR pyrethroid resistance evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-172
Number of pages8
JournalPesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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