Research abstract

Brief Communications abstract

Nature Biotechnology 25, 1455 - 1456 (2007)
Published online: 11 November 2007 | doi:10.1038/nbt1357

A scorpion neurotoxin increases the potency of a fungal insecticide

Chengshu Wang1 & Raymond J St Leger2


The low virulence of the insecticidal fungus Metarhizium anisopliae has stymied its widespread use in controlling insect pests. We show that high-level expression of an insect-specific neurotoxin from the scorpion Androctonus australis in hemolymph by M. anisopliae increases fungal toxicity 22-fold against tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) caterpillars and ninefold against adult yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) without compromising host specificity. Prelethal effects include reduced mobility and feeding of the insects targeted.

  1. Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, China.
  2. Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.

Correspondence to: Raymond J St Leger2 e-mail:

Correspondence to: Chengshu Wang1 e-mail: