Identification of the Flavone-Inducible Counter-Defense Genes and Their cis-Elements in Helicoverpa armigera

Zhongyuan Deng, Yuting Zhang, Liying Fang, Min Zhang, Lixiang Wang, Xinzhi Ni, Xianchun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Flavone is widely found in plants and plays an important role in plant defense against pests. Many pests, such as Helicoverpa armigera, use flavone as a cue to upregulate counter-defense genes for detoxification of flavone. Yet the spectrum of the flavone-inducible genes and their linked cis-regulatory elements remains unclear. In this study, 48 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found by RNA-seq. These DEGs were mainly concentrated in the retinol metabolism and drug metabolism-cytochrome P450 pathways. Further in silico analysis of the promoter regions of 24 upregulated genes predicted two motifs through MEME and five previously characterized cis-elements including CRE, TRE, EcRE, XRE-AhR and ARE. Functional analysis of the two predicted motifs and two different versions of ARE (named ARE1 and ARE2) in the promoter region of the flavone-inducible carboxylesterase gene CCE001j verified that the two motifs and ARE2 are not responsible for flavone induction of H. armigera counter-defense genes, whereas ARE1 is a new xenobiotic response element to flavone (XRE-Fla) and plays a decisive role in flavone induction of CCE001j. This study is of great significance for further understanding the antagonistic interaction between plants and herbivorous insects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number365
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • ARE
  • carboxylesterase
  • cis-transcriptional regulation
  • detoxification metabolism
  • flavone
  • Helicoverpa armigera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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