Wen-bo Chen, Guo-qing Lu, Hong-mei Cheng, Chen-xi Liu, Yu-tao Xiao, Chao Xu, Zhi-cheng Shen, Mario Soberón, Alejandra Bravo, Kong-ming Wu
Wide planting of transgenic Bt cotton in China since 1997 to control cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) has increased yields and decreased insecticide use, but the evolution of resistance to Bt cotton by H. armigera remains a challenge. Toward developing a new generation of insect-resistant transgenic crops, a chimeric protein of Vip3Aa1 and Vip3Ac1, named Vip3AcAa, having a broader insecticidal spectrum, was specifically created previously in our laboratory. In this study, we investigated cross resistance and interactions between Vip3AcAa and Cry1Ac with three H. armigera strains, one that is susceptible and two that are Cry1Ac-resistant, to determine if Vip3AcAa is a good candidate for development the pyramid cotton with Cry1Ac toxin. Our results showed that evolution of insect resistance to Cry1Ac toxin did not influence the sensitivity of Cry1Ac-resistant strains to Vip3AcAa. For the strains examined, observed mortality was equivalent to the expected mortality for all the combinations of Vip3AcAa and Cry1Ac tested, reflecting independent activity between these two toxins. When this chimeric vip3AcAa gene and the cry1Ac gene were introduced into cotton, mortality rates of Cry1Ac resistant H. armigera larvae strains that fed on this new cotton increased significantly compared with larvae fed on non-Bt cotton and cotton producing only Cry1Ac. These results suggest that the Vip3AcAa protein is an excellent option for a “pyramid” strategy for pest resistance management in China.