Beijing time March 25,”Cell” published the latest research results of Zhang Youjun’s team from the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the form of a cover paper . The research revealed for the first time in the world that insects”stole” plant-derived detoxification genes through horizontal gene transfer, and then decomposed the defensive substances of plants, so that they could directly eat more than 600 plants. The research team not only discovered the evolutionary phenomenon of insects”using the spear of the child and attacking the shield of the child”, but also opened up a new perspective for exploring the laws of insect adaptive evolution. It is a major breakthrough in the research on the adaptive evolution mechanism of a wide range of polyphagous insects. The theory of pest population outbreak hazard is developed, and a new idea is provided for the research and development of precision green prevention and control technology for whitefly.
Cell cover papers and the widespread Bemisia tabacis revealed Host adaptability mechanism
According to researcher Zhang Youjun, in the long co-evolution process of plants and insects, plants produce a variety of secondary substances to resist insect damage, phenolic sugars Is one of the typical representatives. Phenolic sugars are widely found in various plants. They can inhibit insect feeding, affect their growth and development, and even have lethal effects on insects. Bemisia tabaci is a”super pest” that can damage more than 600 plants. Therefore, Bemisia tabaci must have a mechanism that can detoxify phenol sugars.
Zhang Youjun’s research team found through comparative genetics and bioinformatics methods that there is a plant-derived gene in the Bemisia tabaci genome-phenolic malonate Acyltransferase. Researchers used molecular biology and evolutionary analysis to confirm that the gene is a horizontally transferred gene of plant origin. In plants, phenol sugar malonyltransferase can decompose phenol sugars, thereby protecting plants from damage caused by excessive accumulation of phenol sugars. Further research has also confirmed that Bemisia tabaci can decompose phenol sugars in vivo. The research team also found that interference with this gene can significantly increase the mortality of Bemisia tabaci adults and inhibit Bemisia tabaci from laying eggs. More importantly, continuous interference with this gene can achieve complete prevention and control of Bemisia tabaci, without any impact on non-target arthropod aphids and Tetranychus urticae.
The three professional reviewers of”Cell” all spoke highly of the research and agreed that:Cell is the best destination for this paper. The research uses clever molecular genetics methods to reveal how insects use horizontal gene transfer to overcome host defenses. It represents a major breakthrough in the field of plant-insect interaction research, expounds a novel resistance mechanism, and explains the reason for the amazing host adaptability of Bemisia tabaci to a variety of crops. It will be useful to ecologists and evolutionary biologists. , Phytochemists and people engaged in pest control have aroused great interest.”Cell” also held a special press conference to announce the research results.
The research was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Special Vegetable Industry Technology System, and the Science and Technology Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Cell full text link:https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674（21)00164-1