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Distribution and Metabolism of Bt-Cry1Ac Toxin in Tissues and Organs of the Cotton Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera

The State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, West Yuanmingyuan Road, Beijing 100193, China
Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38000, Pakistan
Department of Entomology, Faculty of Crop Protection, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam 70060, Pakistan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vernon L. Tesh
Toxins 2016, 8(7), 212;
Received: 6 June 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 7 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Toxins)
PDF [1327 KB, uploaded 7 July 2016]


Crystal (Cry) proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have been widely used in transgenic crops due to their toxicity against insect pests. However, the distribution and metabolism of these toxins in insect tissues and organs have remained obscure because the target insects do not ingest much toxin. In this study, several Cry1Ac-resistant strains of Helicoverpa armigera, fed artificial diets containing high doses of Cry1Ac toxin, were used to investigate the distribution and metabolism of Cry1Ac in their bodies. Cry1Ac was only detected in larvae, not in pupae or adults. Also, Cry1Ac passed through the midgut into other tissues, such as the hemolymph and fat body, but did not reach the larval integument. Metabolic tests revealed that Cry1Ac degraded most rapidly in the fat body, followed by the hemolymph, peritrophic membrane and its contents. The toxin was metabolized slowly in the midgut, but was degraded in all locations within 48 h. These findings will improve understanding of the functional mechanism of Bt toxins in target insects and the biotransfer and the bioaccumulation of Bt toxins in arthropod food webs in the Bt crop ecosystem. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cry1Ac; Helicoverpa armigera; tissue distribution; toxin metabolism Cry1Ac; Helicoverpa armigera; tissue distribution; toxin metabolism

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Zhao, Z.; Li, Y.; Xiao, Y.; Ali, A.; Dhiloo, K.H.; Chen, W.; Wu, K. Distribution and Metabolism of Bt-Cry1Ac Toxin in Tissues and Organs of the Cotton Bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera. Toxins 2016, 8, 212.

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