Antagonistic regulation, yet synergistic defense: effect of bergapten and protease inhibitor on development of cowpea bruchid Callosobruchus maculatus.
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The furanocoumarin compound bergapten is a plant secondary metabolite that has anti-insect function. When incorporated into artificial diet, it retarded cowpea bruchid development, decreased fecundity, and caused mortality at a sufficient dose. cDNA microarray analysis indicated that cowpea bruchid altered expression of 543 midgut genes in response to dietary bergapten. Among these bergapten-regulated genes, 225 have known functions; for instance, those encoding proteins related to nutrient transport and metabolism, development, detoxification, defense and various cellular functions. Such differential gene regulation presumably facilitates the bruchids' countering the negative effect of dietary bergapten. Many genes did not have homology (E-value cutoff 10(-6)) with known genes in a BlastX search (206), or had homology only with genes of unknown function (112). Interestingly, when compared with the transcriptomic profile of cowpea bruchids treated with dietary soybean cysteine protease inhibitor N (scN), 195 out of 200 coregulated midgut genes are oppositely regulated by the two compounds. Simultaneous administration of bergapten and scN attenuated magnitude of change in selected oppositely-regulated genes, as well as led to synergistic delay in insect development. Therefore, targeting insect vulnerable sites that may compromise each other's counter-defensive response has the potential to increase the efficacy of the anti-insect molecules.