Over-expression of cytochrome P450 CYP6CM1 is associated with high resistance to imidacloprid in the B and Q biotypes of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)

Iris Karunker, Juergen Benting, Bettina Lueke, Tanja Ponge, Ralf Nauen, Emmanouil Roditakis, John Vontas, Kevin Gorman, Ian Denholm, Shai Morin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

339 Scopus citations


The two most damaging biotypes of Bemisia tabaci, B and Q, have both evolved strong resistance to the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. The major mechanism in all samples investigated so far appeared to be enhanced detoxification by cytochrome P450s monooxygenases (P450s). In this study, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology using degenerate primers based on conserved P450 helix I and heme-binding regions was employed to identify P450 cDNA sequences in B. tabaci that might be involved in imidacloprid resistance. Eleven distinct P450 cDNA sequences were isolated and classified as members of the CYP4 or CYP6 families. The mRNA expression levels of all 11 genes were compared by real-time quantitative RT-PCR across nine B and Q field-derived strains of B. tabaci showing strong resistance, moderate resistance or susceptibility to imidacloprid. We found that constitutive over-expression (up to ∼17-fold) of a single P450 gene, CYP6CM1, was tightly related to imidacloprid resistance in both the B and Q biotypes. Next, we identified three single-nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) markers in the intron region of CYP6CM1 that discriminate between the resistant and susceptible Q-biotype CYP6CM1 alleles (r-Q and s-Q, respectively), and used a heterogeneous strain to test for association between r-Q and resistance. While survivors of a low imidacloprid dose carried both the r-Q and s-Q alleles, ∼95% of the survivors of a high imidacloprid dose carried only the r-Q allele. Together with previous evidence, the results reported here identify enhanced activity of P450s as the major mechanism of imidacloprid resistance in B. tabaci, and the CYP6CM1 gene as a leading target for DNA-based screening for resistance to imidacloprid and possibly other neonicotinoids in field populations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)634-644
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Einat Laor and Amit Yigal for excellent technical assistance. This work was partial supported by Bayer CropScience AG (Germany) and the Israel Science Foundation Grant 971/04.


  • Bemisia tabaci
  • Biotypes
  • Cytochrome P450s monooxygenases
  • Imidacloprid
  • Metabolic resistance
  • Neonicotinoid insecticide


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