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Identification and characterization of an esterase involved in malathion resistance in the head louse Pediculus humanus capitis

Kwon, Deok Ho, Kim, Ju Hyeon, Kim, Young Ho, Yoon, Kyong Sup, Clark, J. Marshall, Lee, Si Hyeock
Pesticide biochemistry and physiology 2014 v.112 pp. 13-18
Pediculus humanus capitis, RNA interference, carboxylesterase, complementary DNA, gene duplication, genes, malathion, nucleotide sequences, phylogeny, single nucleotide polymorphism, transcription (genetics)
Enhanced malathion carboxylesterase (MCE) activity was previously reported to be involved in malathion resistance in the head louse Pediculus humanus capitis (Gao et al., 2006 [8]). To identify MCE, the transcriptional profiles of all five esterases that had been annotated to be catalytically active were determined and compared between the malathion-resistant (BR-HL) and malathion-susceptible (KR-HL) strains of head lice. An esterase gene, designated HLCbE3, exhibited approximately 5.4-fold higher transcription levels, whereas remaining four esterases did not exhibit a significant increase in their transcription in BR-HL, indicating that HLCbE3 may be the putative MCE. Comparison of the entire cDNA sequences of HLCbE3 revealed no sequence differences between the BR-HL and KR-HL strains and suggested that no single nucleotide polymorphism is associated with enhanced MCE activity. Two copies of the HLCbE3 gene were observed in BR-HL, implying that the over-transcription of HLCbE3 is due to the combination of a gene duplication and up-regulated transcription. Knockdown of HLCbE3 expression by RNA interference in the BR-HL strain led to increases in malathion susceptibility, confirming the identity of HLCbE3 as a MCE responsible for malathion resistance in the head louse. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that HLCbE3 is a typical dietary esterase and belongs to a clade containing various MCEs involved in malathion resistance.