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Extensive gene duplication of acetylcholinesterase associated with organophosphate resistance in the two-spotted spider mite


Si Hyeock Lee, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, South Korea. Tel.: +01182 2 880 4704; fax: +01182 2 873 2319; e-mail:


Monocrotophos-resistant two-spotted spider mites (TSSMs), Tetranychus urticae, are known to possess three mutations on the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) gene (Tuace) that are involved in target site insensitivity. Cross-strain comparison of three strains (highly resistant AD, moderately resistant PyriF and susceptible UD strains) revealed that resistant strains have relatively more Tuace copies than the UD strain and that the levels of transcript were directly proportional to copy numbers. AChEs from the AD and PyriF strains had similar Vmax values to those of AChE from the UD strain but increased Km and reduced kcat constants, suggesting that the mutated, resistant form of AChE may carry a fitness cost. Relative copy numbers of Tuace in field populations varied from 2.4 to 6.1, correlating well with their levels of resistance (r2= 0.895). These results are suggestive of the involvement of Tuace gene duplication in resistance. Thus, monocrotophos resistance in TSSMs appears to have evolved through a combination of mutation accumulation and extensive gene duplication.