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Keywords:

  • Bacillus thuringiensis;
  • Choristoneura fumiferana;
  • subtractive hybridization;
  • gene expression

Abstract

Bacillus thuringiensis is a microbial control agent active against Choristoneura fumiferana, a lepidopteran defoliator of North American forests. Although the B. thuringiensis insecticidal crystal protoxins have a relatively narrow host range, there is concern about their impact on non-target species where intoxication effects may not be overt. Larval toxicity effects can be assessed at the molecular level by determining altered transcriptional profiles in response to sublethal protoxin exposure in sensitive insects. Subtraction hybridization libraries were created using two larval populations, control and protoxin-fed and were characterized by sequencing 1091 clones. Differential mRNA expression of selected clones, as measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, identified a number of metabolic and stress-related genes that were either transcriptionally enhanced or repressed after protoxin exposure.