A toxicogenomics approach reveals characteristics supporting the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) safety profile of the butenolide insecticide flupyradifurone

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hass, J., Zaworra, M., Glaubitz, J., Hertlein, G., Kohler, M., Lagojda, A., Lueke, B., Maus, C., Almanza, M-T., Davies, T. G. E., Bass, C. and Nauen, R. 2021. A toxicogenomics approach reveals characteristics supporting the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) safety profile of the butenolide insecticide flupyradifurone. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 217 (1 July), p. 112247. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112247

AuthorsHass, J., Zaworra, M., Glaubitz, J., Hertlein, G., Kohler, M., Lagojda, A., Lueke, B., Maus, C., Almanza, M-T., Davies, T. G. E., Bass, C. and Nauen, R.
Abstract

Flupyradifurone, a novel butenolide insecticide, selectively targets insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors(nAChRs), comparable to structurally different insecticidal chemotypes such as neonicotinoids and sulfoximines. However, flupyradifurone was shown in acute toxicity tests to be several orders of magnitude less toxic to western honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) than many other insecticides targeting insect nAChRs. The underlying reasons for this difference in toxicity remains unknown and were investigated here. Pharmacokinetic studies after contact application of [14C]flupyradifurone to honey bees revealed slow uptake, with internalized compound degraded into a few metabolites that are all practically non-toxic to honey bees in both oral and contact bioassays. Furthermore, receptor binding studies revealed a lack of high-affinity binding of these metabolites to honey bee nAChRs. Screening of a library of 27 heterologously expressed honey bee cytochrome P450 enzymes (P450s) identified three P450s involved in the detoxification of flupyradifurone: CYP6AQ1, CYP9Q2 and CYP9Q3. Transgenic Drosophila lines ectopically expressing CYP9Q2 and CYP9Q3 were significantly less susceptible to flupyradifurone when compared to control flies, confirming the importance of these P450s for flupyradifurone metabolism in honey bees. Biochemical assays using the fluorescent probe substrate 7-benzyloxymethoxy-4-(trifluoromethyl)-coumarin (BOMFC) indicated a weak, non-competitive inhibition of BOMFC metabolism by flupyradifurone. In contrast, the azole fungicides prochloraz and propiconazole were strong nanomolar inhibitors of these flupyradifurone metabolizing P450s, explaining their highly synergistic effects in combination with flupyradifurone as demonstrated in acute laboratory contact toxicity tests of adult bees. Interestingly, the azole fungicide prothioconazole is only slightly synergistic in combination with flupyradifurone – an observation supported by molecular P450 inhibition assays. Such molecular assays have value in the prediction of potential risks posed to bees by flupyradifurone mixture partners under applied conditions. Quantitative PCR confirmed the expression of the identified P450 genes in all honey bee life-stages, with highest expression levels observed in late larvae and adults, suggesting honey bees have the capacity to metabolize flupyradifurone across all life-stages. These findings provide a biochemical explanation for the low intrinsic toxicity of flupyradifurone to honey bees and offer a new, more holistic approach to support bee pollinator risk assessment by molecular means.

KeywordsP450; Risk assessment; Pollinators; Detoxification; Synergism; Fungicides
Year of Publication2021
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Journal citation217 (1 July), p. 112247
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112247
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBayer Crop Science
Funder project or codeBayer Crop Science
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
PublisherAcademic Press Inc Elsevier Science
ISSN0147-6513

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