Mechanism of entomotoxicity of the plant lectin from **Hippeastrum** hybrid (**Amaryllis**) in **Spodoptera littoralis** larvae
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Journal of insect physiology. - Oxford
, p. 1177-1183
Plant lectins have received a lot of attention because of their insecticidal properties. When orally administered in artificial diet or in transgenic plants, lectins provoke a wide range of detrimental effects, including alteration of the digestive enzyme machinery, fecundity drop, reduced feeding, changes in oviposition behavior, growth and development inhibition and mortality. Although many studies reported the entomotoxicity of lectins, only a few of them investigated the mode of action by which lectins exert toxicity. In the present paper we have studied for the first time the insecticidal potential of the plant lectin from Hippeastrum hybrid (Amaryllis) (HHA) bulbs against the larvae of the cotton leafworm (Spodoptera littoralis). Bioassays on neonate larvae showed that this mannose-specific lectin affected larval growth, causing a development retardation and larval weight decrease. Using primary cell cultures from S. littoralis midguts and confocal microscopy we have elucidated FITC-HHA binding and internalization mechanisms. We found that HHA did not exert a toxic effect on S. littoralis midgut cells, but HHA interaction with the brush border of midgut cells interfered with normal nutrient absorption in the S. littoralis midgut, thereby affecting normal larval growth in vivo. This study thus confirms the potential of mannose-specific lectins as pest control agents and sheds light on the mechanism underlying lectin entomotoxicity. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.