Downregulation of a transcription factor associated with resistance to Bt toxin Vip3Aa in the invasive fall armyworm

Minghui Jin, Yinxue Shan, Yan Peng, Wenhui Wang, Huihui Zhang, Kaiyu Liu, David G. Heckel, Kongming Wu, Bruce E. Tabashnik, Yutao Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Transgenic crops producing insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) have revolutionized control of some major pests. However, more than 25 cases of field-evolved practical resistance have reduced the efficacy of transgenic crops producing crystalline (Cry) Bt proteins, spurring adoption of alternatives including crops producing the Bt vegetative insecticidal protein Vip3Aa. Although practical resistance to Vip3Aa has not been reported yet, better understanding of the genetic basis of resistance to Vip3Aa is urgently needed to proactively monitor, delay, and counter pest resistance. This is especially important for fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which has evolved practical resistance to Cry proteins and is one of the world’s most damaging pests. Here, we report the identification of an association between downregulation of the transcription factor gene SfMyb and resistance to Vip3Aa in S. frugiperda. Results from a genome-wide association study, fine-scale mapping, and RNA-Seq identified this gene as a compelling candidate for contributing to the 206-fold resistance to Vip3Aa in a laboratory-selected strain. Experimental reduction of SfMyb expression in a susceptible strain using RNA interference (RNAi) or CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing decreased susceptibility to Vip3Aa, confirming that reduced expression of this gene can cause resistance to Vip3Aa. Relative to the wild-type promoter for SfMyb, the promoter in the resistant strain has deletions and lower activity. Data from yeast one-hybrid assays, genomics, RNA-Seq, RNAi, and proteomics identified genes that are strong candidates for mediating the effects of SfMyb on Vip3Aa resistance. The results reported here may facilitate progress in understanding and managing pest resistance to Vip3Aa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2306932120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number44
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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