Midgut metabolomic profiling of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) with field-evolved resistance to Cry1F corn
Abdelgaffar, H., E. D. Tague, H. F. Castro Gonzalez, S. R. Campagna, and J. L. Jurat-Fuentes.  2019.  Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2019 Mar;106:1-9. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Populations of the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) have developed resistance to transgenic corn producing the Cry1F insecticidal protein from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Resistance in S. frugiperda from Puerto Rico is genetically linked to a mutation in an ATP Binding Cassette subfamily C2 gene (SfABCC2) that results in a truncated, non-functional Cry1F toxin receptor protein. Since ABCC2 proteins are involved in active export of xenobiotics and other metabolites from the cell, we hypothesized that Cry1F-resistant fall armyworm with a non-functional SfABCC2 protein would display altered gut metabolome composition when compared to susceptible insects. Mass spectrometry and multivariate statistical analyses identified 126 unique metabolites from larval guts, of which 7 were found to display statistically significant altered levels between midguts from susceptible and Cry1F-resistant S. frugiperda larvae when feeding on meridic diet. Among these 7 differentially present metabolites, 6 were found to significantly accumulate (1.3-3.5-fold) in midguts from Cry1F-resistant larvae, including nucleosides, asparagine, and carbohydrates such as trehalose 6-phosphate and sedoheptulose 1/7-phosphate. In contrast, metabolomic comparisons of larvae fed on non-transgenic corn identified 5 metabolites with statistically significant altered levels and only 2 of them, 2-isopropylmalate and 3-phosphoserine, that significantly accumulated (2.3- and 3.5-fold, respectively) in midguts from Cry1F-resistant compared to susceptible larvae. These results identify a short list of candidate metabolites that may be transported by SfABCC2 and that may have the potential to be used as resistance markers.