Molecular and genetic analysis of resistance to METI-I acaricides in Iranian populations of the citrus red mite Panonychus citri

Elaheh Shafiei Alavijeh, Jahangir Khajehali, Simon Snoeck, Rafaela Panteleri, Mohammad Ghadamyari, Wim Jonckheere, Sabina Bajda, Corinna Saalwaechter, Sven Geibel, Vassilis Douris, John Vontas, Thomas Van Leeuwen, Wannes Dermauw

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The citrus red mite, Panonychus citri, is a major pest on citrus all around the world. Mitochondrial Electron Transport Inhibitors of complex I (METI-I) acaricides such as fenpyroximate have been used extensively to control P. citri populations, which resulted in multiple reports of METI-I resistant populations in the field. In this study, biochemical and molecular mechanisms of fenpyroximate resistance were investigated in P. citri. Seven populations were collected from Northern provinces of Iran. Resistance ratios were determined and reached up to 75-fold in comparison to a fenpyroximate susceptible population. Cross-resistance to two additional METI-I acaricides, pyridaben and tebufenpyrad, was detected. PBO synergism experiments, in vivo enzyme assays and gene expression analysis suggest a minor involvement of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases in fenpyroximate resistance, which is in contrast with many reported cases for the closely related Tetranychus urticae. Next, we determined the frequency of a well-known mutation in the target-site of METI-Is, the PSST subunit, associated with METI-I resistance. Indeed, the H92R substitution was detected in a highly fenpyroximate resistant P. citri population. Additionally, a new amino acid substitution at a conserved site in the PSST subunit was detected, A94V, with higher allele frequencies in a moderately resistant population. Marker-assisted back-crossing in a susceptible background confirmed the potential involvement of the newly discovered A94V mutation in fenpyroximate resistance. However, introduction of the A94V mutation in the PSST homologue of D. melanogaster using CRISPR-Cas9 did not result in fenpyroximate resistant flies. In addition, differences in binding curves between METI-Is and complex I measured directly, in isolated transgenic and wildtype mitochondria preparations, could not be found.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPesticide biochemistry and physiology
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acaricides
  • Animals
  • Citrus
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Iran
  • Tetranychidae


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