High resolution genetic mapping uncovers chitin synthase-1 as the target-site of the structurally diverse mite growth inhibitors clofentezine, hexythiazox and etoxazole in Tetranychus urticae.

Research paper by Peter P Demaeght, Edward J EJ Osborne, Jothini J Odman-Naresh, Miodrag M Grbić, Ralf R Nauen, Hans H Merzendorfer, Richard M RM Clark, Thomas T Van Leeuwen

Indexed on: 27 May '14Published on: 27 May '14Published in: Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


The acaricides clofentezine, hexythiazox and etoxazole are commonly referred to as 'mite growth inhibitors', and clofentezine and hexythiazox have been used successfully for the integrated control of plant mite pests for decades. Although they are still important today, their mode of action has remained elusive. Recently, a mutation in chitin synthase 1 (CHS1) was linked to etoxazole resistance. In this study, we identified and investigated a Tetranychus urticae strain (HexR) harboring recessive, monogenic resistance to each of hexythiazox, clofentezine, and etoxazole. To elucidate if there is a common genetic basis for the observed cross-resistance, we adapted a previously developed bulk segregant analysis method to map with high resolution a single, shared resistance locus for all three compounds. This finding indicates that the underlying molecular basis for resistance to all three compounds is identical. This locus is centered on the CHS1 gene, and as supported by additional genetic and biochemical studies, a non-synonymous variant (I1017F) in CHS1 associates with resistance to each of the tested acaricides in HexR. Our findings thus demonstrate a shared molecular mode of action for the chemically diverse mite growth inhibitors clofentezine, hexythiazox and etoxazole as inhibitors of an essential, non-catalytic activity of CHS1. Given the previously documented cross-resistance between clofentezine, hexythiazox and the benzyolphenylurea (BPU) compounds flufenoxuron and cycloxuron, CHS1 should be also considered as a potential target-site of insecticidal BPUs.