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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 12 print issues and online access
$209.00 per year
only $17.42 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Prices vary by article type
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Similar content being viewed by others
Hajek, A.E. Adv. Microb. Ecol. 15, 193–249 (1997).
Lawrence, L. Outlooks Pest Manag. 16, 253–254 (2005).
Ritter, S.K. Chem. Eng. News 84, 82–83 (2006).
Thomas, M.B. & Read, A.F. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 5, 377–383 (2007).
Amsellem, Z., Cohen, B.A. & Gressel, J. Nat. Biotechnol. 20, 1035–1039 (2002).
Zlotkin, E., Fishman, Y. & Elazar, M. Biochimie 82, 869–881 (2000).
Samuels, R.I., Charnley, A.K. & Reynolds, S.E. Mycopathologia 104, 51–58 (1988).
Wang, C. & St. Leger, R.J. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103, 6647–6652 (2006).
Hu, G. & St. Leger, R.J. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 68, 6383–6387 (2002).
Wang, C. & St. Leger, R.J. Eukaryot. Cell 4, 937–947 (2005).
St. Leger, R.J., Joshi, L., Bidochka, M.J. & Roberts, D.W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93, 6349–6354 (1996).
Roberts, D.W. & St. Leger, R.J. Adv. Appl. Microbiol. 54, 1–70 (2004).
Freimoser, F.M. et al. Microbiology 149, 239–247 (2003).
Stewart, L.M. et al. Nature 352, 85–88 (1991).
Cory, J.S. et al. Nature 370, 138–140 (1994).
We are grateful to A. Read, J. Gressel, M. Thomas and A.K. Charnley for critical readings of this manuscript and to David O'Brochta at the Center for Biosystems Research, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute for providing the mosquitoes. This work was supported by the National Hi-Tech Program of China 2006AA10A119 and US Department of Agriculture/CSREES grant 2006-03692.
About this article
Cite this article
Wang, C., St Leger, R. A scorpion neurotoxin increases the potency of a fungal insecticide. Nat Biotechnol 25, 1455–1456 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt1357
This article is cited by
Microbial Ecology (2023)
World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (2022)
Transgenic Research (2021)
Journal of Pest Science (2019)