The Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel (VGSC) of nerve membranes is known to be the principal target of pyrethroid action and toxicity and a number of point mutations in the domain II and III helices of the channel protein have been identified that confer resistance in a range of insect pests. Our recent work has demonstrated that three different mutations mapping at position 925 (domain II) of the channel protein showed a significant correlation with the resistance to pyrethroids detected in European and American populations of the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor.
We are working to have a clearer understanding of the nature of the interactions of pyrethroid acaricides with their target in wild-type and resistant mites. We will be testing the pharmacological effect of the acaricides in the mutated channels expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and well as in cell cultures. On the other hand, we will contribute to establish a distribution map of the resistance to pyrethroids in Varroa populations in Europe and in the US using high-throughput diagnostics assays already developed and tested in our lab.
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