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Gene cloning and expression of cadherin in midgut of Helicoverpa armigera and its Cry1A binding region

DOI: 10.1360/03yc0273

Keywords: BtR-harm,Bt receptor,gene cloning and expression,Helicoverpa armigera

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Cadherins belong to one of the families of animal glycoproteins responsible for calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion. Recent literatures showed that the cadherin-like in midgut of several insects served as the receptor of Bt toxin Cry1A and the variation of cadherin-like is related to insect’s resistance to Cry1A. The full-length cDNA encoding cadherin-like of Helicoverpa armigera is cloned by degenerate PCR and RACE techniques and the gene was designated as BtR-harm, which is 5581 bp in full-length, encoding 1730 amino acid residues (BtR-harm was deposited in GenBank and the accession number is AF519180). Its predicted molecular weight and isoelectric point were 195.39 kDa and 4.23, respectively. The inferred amino acid sequence includes a signal sequence, 11 cadherin repeats, a membrane-proximal region, a transmembrane region and a cytoplasmic region. Sequence analysis indicated that the deduced protein sequence was most similar to the cadherin-like from Heliothis virescens with 84.2% identity and highly similar to three other lepidopteran cadherin from Bombyx mori, Manduca sexta and Pectinophora gossypiella, with the sequence identities of 60.3.6%, 57.5% and 51.0%, respectively. The cDNA encoding cadherin gene was expressed successfully in E. coli and the recombinant proteins can bind with Cry1Ac. Truncation analysis and binding experiment of BtR-harm revealed that the Cry1A binding region was a contiguous 244-amino acid sequence, which located between amino acid 1217 and 1461. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that BtR-harm was highly expressed in midgut of H. armigera, very low expressed in foregut and hindgut and was not expressed in other tissues. After H. armigera producing resistance to Cry1Ac, the expression quantity of BtR-harm significantly decreased in midgut of H. armigera. It is the first confirmation that BtR-harm can function as receptor of Cry1Ac in H. armigera and the binding region was located on a contiguous 244 amino acid sequence, suggesting that the decrease of expression quantity of BtR-harm is one of the main reasons for H. armigera resistance to Cry1Ac.


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