• microarray;
  • gene induction;
  • cytochrome P450;
  • glutathione S-transferase;
  • piperonyl butoxide


Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) is an insecticide synergist known to inhibit the activity of cytochrome P450 enzymes. PBO is currently used in some insecticide formulations, and has also been suggested as a pretreatment for some pesticide applications. Little is known about how insects respond to PBO exposure at the gene transcription level. The authors have characterised the transcriptional response of the Drosophila melanogaster genome after PBO treatment, using both a custom-designed ‘detox’ microarray, containing cytochrome P450 (P450), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and esterase genes, and a full genome microarray. A subset of P450 and GST genes is identified, along with additional metabolic genes, that are induced by PBO. The gene set is an extremely similar gene set to that induced by phenobarbital, a compound for which pretreatment is known to confer tolerance to a range of insecticide compounds. The implications of the induction of gene families known to metabolise insecticides and the use of PBO in pest management programs are discussed. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry