Bacterial insecticides

genome yields novel compounds active against pathogen-bearing insects

Cathy Holding(

One means of controlling the spread of human pathogens and parasites that are spread by insect vectors—for example, malaria—is the use of insecticides. This approach is frequently compromised by the acquisition of resistance to the chemicals by the target insects, and novel, efficacious compounds are difficult to identify and expensive to develop. In the October 5 Nature Biotechnology Eric Duchaud and colleagues at the Institut Pasteur report the whole genome sequence of the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens and describe two protein-encoding loci that are lethal to the mosquitoes Anopheles gambiae, Culex pipiens, and Aedes aegyptae. Further sequences encoding a number of toxins and antibiotics were identified that may provide biotechnological leads in other areas (Nature Biotechnology, DOI:10.1038/nbt886, October 5, 2003).

Duchaud et al. determined the genome sequence of P. luminescens subspecies laumondii strain TT01 from its single 5.7 megabase–pair long circular chromosome and identified 4839 predicted protein-coding sequences...

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