Lynamicin b is a potential pesticide by acting as a Lepidoptera-exclusive chitinase inhibitor.
Insect group h chitinase is a promising target for designing non-target safe pesticides in that it is exclusively distributed in lepidopteran insects, over 80% of which are agricultural pests. In this work, lynamicin B was discovered to be an inhibitor of OfChi-h, the group h chitinase from the lepidopteran pest Ostrinia furnacalis. Lynamicin B was revealed to competitively inhibit OfChi-h with a Ki value of 8.76 μM and does not significantly inhibit other chitinases. The co-crystal structure of lynamicin B and OfChi-h revealed that the dichloroindolyl group of lynamicin B occupies an unexplored pocket below subsites +1 and +2 of the substrate-binding cleft, which is vital for its selectivity. Feeding experiments demonstrated that lynamicin B exhibited high insecticidal activities against other lepidopteran pests Mythimna separata and Spodoptera frugiperda besides O. furnacalis. Moreover, lynamicin B did not affect Trichogramma ostriniae, a natural enemy of O. furnacalis. This study provides a natural-derived potent pesticide for the control of lepidopteran pests, leaving its natural enemy unaffected.