Cadherin mutation linked to resistance to Cry1Ac affects male paternity and sperm competition in Helicoverpa armigera

Haonan Zhang, Bing Du, Yihua Yang, Dawn M. Higginson, Yves Carrière, Yidong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Several lepidopteran pests of cotton have cadherin-based resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin Cry1Ac. Cadherins are transmembrane proteins that mediate cell-cell adhesion and tissue morphogenesis, suggesting that fitness costs associated with cadherin mutations may be present in many aspects of life history. To evaluate whether cadherin-based resistance is associated with fitness costs reducing male paternity in Helicoverpa armigera, we examined the effects of a major cadherin resistance allele on sperm competition within and between male ejaculates. When homozygous resistant and susceptible males competed for fertilization of a homozygous resistant or susceptible female, fertilization success was high in males with a different cadherin genotype than females, and low in males with the same cadherin genotype as females. Single matings between heterozygous males and susceptible females produced offspring within typical Mendelian ratios. Heterozygous males mated to resistant females, however, resulted in a disproportionate number of heterozygous offspring. While these results show that cadherin-based resistance to Cry1Ac has significant impacts on paternity in H. armigera, there was no evidence that costs associated with resistance consistently reduced male paternity. Rather, effects of cadherin-based resistance on paternity depended on interactions between male and female genotypes and differed when males or sperm competed for fertilization of females, which complicates assessment of impacts of cadherin resistance alleles on resistance evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
StatePublished - Sep 16 2014


  • Bt resistance
  • Cadherin
  • Fitness costs
  • Non-Mendelian inheritance
  • Sperm competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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