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    Phosphine is the dominant chemical used in postharvest pest control. Widespread and highly frequent use of phosphine has been selected for pest insects, including Tribolium castaneum, which is highly resistant. Lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are two major factors determining phosphine toxicity; however, the mechanisms of production of these two factors in phosphine toxicity are still unknown. Here, we first determined the time course of phosphine-induced lipid peroxidation and ROS production in T. castaneum. Our results showed that lipid peroxidation occurs before ROS in the process of phosphine toxicity, and fumigated beetles with higher resistance levels were associated with weaker activity on lipid peroxidation and ROS. A significant decline in lipid peroxidation was observed in fumigated individuals after knockdown of cytochrome b5 fatty acid desaturase (Cyt-b5-r) via RNA interference (RNAi), indicating that Cyt-b5-r is critical for triggering phosphine-induced lipid peroxidation. Moreover, significant decreases in both ROS and mortality were detected in fumigated T. castaneum adults fed melatonin for 7 days, an inhibitor of lipid peroxidation. Cyt-b5-r RNAi also inhibited ROS production and mortality in phosphine-treated beetles. Meanwhile, a significant decrease in ROS production (68.4%) was detected in dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLD) knockdown individuals with phenotypes susceptible to phosphine, suggesting that lipid peroxidation initiates ROS with the expression of DLD. However, a significant increase in ROS (122.1%) was detected in the DLD knockdown beetles with strongly resistant phenotypes, indicating that the DLD-involved pathway may not be the only mechanism of ROS generation in phosphine toxicity and the existence of a moonlighting role in downregulating ROS in strongly resistant T. castaneum. Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.


    Xu Shen, Meiling Che, Honglei Xu, Xinbo Zhuang, Erhu Chen, Peian Tang, Kangxu Wang. Insight into the molecular mechanism of phosphine toxicity provided by functional analysis of cytochrome b5 fatty acid desaturase and dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Pesticide biochemistry and physiology. 2023 Aug;194:105482

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    PMID: 37532347

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