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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Publication details for Dr Elaine Fitches

Wakefield, M.E., Fitches, E.C., Bell, H.A. & Gatehouse, A.M.R. (2010). The snowdrop lectin Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) and a fusion protein ButaIT/GNA have a differential affect on a pest noctuid Lacanobia oleracea and the ectoparasitoid Eulophus pennicornis. Physiological Entomology 35(4): 334-342.

Author(s) from Durham


Fusion proteins have considerable potential as novel insect control agents because they enable the oral delivery of insecticidal peptides to the haemolymph of pests. Transport is achieved via fusion of the toxin to a carrier protein Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) that, after ingestion, binds to and crosses the insect gut epithelia. A fusion protein comprising a toxin from the South Indian red scorpion (Mesobuthus tamulus) that is fused to a GNA polypeptide (ButaIT/GNA) has a detrimental effect on the development of tomato moth Lacanobia oleracea (L.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae. The present study examines the effects of ButaIT/GNA and GNA, delivered orally or by injection, on the development of L. oleracea larvae, and the subsequent effects on the gregarious ectoparasitoid Eulophus pennicornis (Nees) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) developing on ButaIT/GNA- and GNA-treated hosts. The fusion protein, but not GNA, reduces the growth of fifth stadium L. oleracea larvae. The development of E. pennicornis is not affected by the presence of ButaIT/GNA in hosts that ingest the protein, although it is affected when hosts are injected with the protein. This difference is considered to be a result of higher levels of fusion protein being present when the fusion protein is injected. Intact ButaIT/GNA is detected by immunoassay in the haemolymph of L. oleracea larvae after ingestion of the fusion protein. More unexpectedly, negative effects are observed for the growth of E. pennicornis larvae developing on hosts that have either ingested, or been injected with GNA.