A General Approach to Test for Interaction Among Mixtures of Insecticidal Proteins Which Target Different Orders of Insect Pests

Gerson Graser, Frederick S Walters, Andrea Burns, Alaina Sauve, Alan Raybould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A shift toward transgenic crops which produce combinations of insecticidal proteins has increased the interest (Syngenta Seeds, Inc., Minnetonka, MN) in studying the potential for interactions amongst those proteins. We present a general testing method which accommodates proteins with nonoverlapping spectrums of activity. Our sequential testing approach first investigates groups of the proteins with overlapping activity; e.g., proteins active against Lepidoptera or Coleoptera, respectively. The Colby method is used to test for interactions within each respective group. Subsequently, the mixture of proteins within each group is regarded as a single entity and tests for interactions between the groups (when combined) is conducted using analysis of variance. We illustrate the method using Cry1Ab, Vip3Aa20, and Cry1F (a mixture of proteins active against Lepidoptera), and mCry3A and eCry3.1Ab (a mixture of proteins active against Coleoptera). These insecticidal proteins are produced by Bt11 × MIR162 × TC1507 × MIR604 × 5307 maize. We detected no interactions between Cry1Ab, Vip3Aa20, and Cry1F in tests using larvae of two different lepidopteran species, and possible slight antagonism between mCry3A and eCry3.1Ab with a coleopteran test species. We detected no effect of (eCry3.1Ab + mCry3A) on the potency of (Cry1Ab + Vip3Aa20 + Cry1F) to lepidopteran larvae, and no effect of (Cry1Ab + Vip3Aa20 + Cry1F) on the potency of (mCry3A + eCry3.1Ab) to coleopteran larvae. We discuss implications of these results for characterization of Bt11 × MIR162 × TC1507 × MIR604 × 5307 maize, and the value of the method for characterizing other transgenic crops that produce several insecticidal proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInsect Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2017


  • Animals
  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Bacterial Proteins/metabolism
  • Biological Assay
  • Biological Control Agents/metabolism
  • Coleoptera/metabolism
  • Insecticide Resistance
  • Insecticides/metabolism
  • Larva/metabolism
  • Lepidoptera/metabolism
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Zea mays/genetics

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