We are interested in a variety of pesticidal proteins that act either in the gut (e.g. those derived from Bt) or within the hemocoel (e.g. neurotoxins) of the insect that have potential for use in insect pest management.
A wide variety of venomous species produce toxic peptides that are specific for insects. These pesticidal proteins represent an untapped resource for insect pest management due to the lack of an appropriate system for delivery from the insect gut to their target site within the body of the pest. We demonstrated that the coat proteins of plant viruses (luteoviruses) when fused to such peptides, effectively deliver them into the hemocoel of aphids, resulting in suppression of damaging aphid populations. We are now working to extend this approach to other pest insect systems.
Transcytosis of Junonia coenia densovirus VP4 across the gut epithelium of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Kemmerer M, Bonning BC. Insect Sci. 2018 Apr 27. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12600
Bonning BC, Pal N, Liu S, Wang Z, Sivakumar S, Dixon PM, King GF, Miller WA. 2014. Toxin delivery by the coat protein of an aphid-vectored plant virus provides plant resistance to aphids. Nat. Biotechnol. 32(1):102-5. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2753.
Bonning BC, Chougule NP. 2014. Delivery of intrahemocoelic peptides for insect pest management.Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Dec 11. pii: S0167-7799(13)00177-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2013.08.001.
Pal, N., Yamamoto, T., King, G.F., Waine, C., Bonning, B.C. 2013. Aphicidal efficacy of scorpion- and spider-derived neurotoxins. Toxicon 70:114-22.