Comparative analysis of detoxification enzymes in Acyrthosiphon pisum and Myzus persicae


  • John S. Ramsey and Dean S. Rider contributed equally to this research.

Georg Jander, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, 1 Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA. Tel.: + 607 354 1365; fax: + 607 254 1502; e-mail:


Herbivorous insects use detoxification enzymes, including cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, glutathione S-transferases, and carboxy/cholinesterases, to metabolize otherwise deleterious plant secondary metabolites. Whereas Acyrthosiphon pisum (pea aphid) feeds almost exclusively from the Fabaceae, Myzus persicae (green peach aphid) feeds from hundreds of species in more than forty plant families. Therefore, M. persicae as a species would be exposed to a greater diversity of plant secondary metabolites than A. pisum, and has been predicted to require a larger complement of detoxification enzymes. A comparison of M. persicae cDNA and A. pisum genomic sequences is partially consistent with this hypothesis. There is evidence of at least 40% more cytochrome P450 genes in M. persicae than in A. pisum. In contrast, no major differences were found between the two species in the numbers of glutathione S-transferases, and carboxy/cholinesterases. However, given the incomplete M. persicae cDNA data set, the number of identified detoxification genes in this species is likely to be an underestimate.