Development-disrupting chitin synthesis inhibitor, novaluron, reprogramming the chitin degradation mechanism of red palm weevils.
Disruption in chitin regulation by using chitin synthesis inhibitor (novaluron) was investigated to gain insights into the biological activity of chitinase in red palm weevils, an invasive pest of date palms in the Middle East. Impact of novaluron against ninth instar red palm weevil larvae was examined by dose-mortality response bioassays, nutritional indices, and expression patterns of chitinase genes characterized in this study. Laboratory bioassays revealed dose-dependent mortality response of ninth-instar red palm weevil larvae with LD50 of 14.77 ppm of novaluron. Dietary growth analysis performed using different doses of novaluron (30, 25, 20, 15, 10, and 5 ppm) exhibited very high reduction in their indexes such as Efficacy of Conversion of Digested Food (82.38%) and Efficacy of Conversion of Ingested Food (74.27%), compared with control treatment. Transcriptomic analysis of red palm weevil larvae characterized numerous genes involved in chitin degradation including chitinase, chitinase-3-like protein 2, chitinase domain-containing protein 1, Endochitinase-like, chitinase 3, and chitin binding peritrophin-a domain. However, quantitative expression patterns of these genes in response to novaluron-fed larvae revealed tissue-specific time-dependent expression patterns. We recorded overexpression of all genes from mid-gut tissues. Growth retarding, chitin remodeling and larvicidal potential suggest novaluron as a promising alternate for Rhynchophorus ferrugineus management.