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A survey of pyrethroid-resistant populations of Meligethes aeneus F. in Poland indicates the incidence of numerous substitutions in the pyrethroid target site of voltage-sensitive sodium channels in individual beetles



The pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus F.) is the most devastating pest of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and is controlled by pyrethroid insecticides. However, resistance to pyrethroids in Europe is becoming widespread and predominant. Pyrethroids target the voltage-sensitive sodium channel (VSSC), and mutations in VSSC may be responsible for pyrethroid insensitivity. Here, we analysed individual beetles that were resistant to esfenvalerate, a pyrethroid, from 14 populations that were collected from oilseed rape fields in Poland. We screened the VSSC domains that were presumed to directly interact with pyrethroids. We identified 18 heterozygous nucleic acid substitutions, amongst which six caused an amino acid change: N912S, G926S, I936V, R957G, F1538L and E1553G. Our analysis of the three-dimensional structure of these domains in VSSC revealed that some of these changes may slightly influence the protein structure and hence the docking efficiency of esfenvalerate. Therefore, these mutations may impact the susceptibility of the sodium channel to the action of this insecticide.