Scavenger receptor-C acts as a receptor for <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> vegetative insecticidal protein Vip3Aa and mediates the internalization of Vip3Aa via endocytosis

by Kun Jiang, Xiao-yue Hou, Tong-tong Tan, Zhang-lei Cao, Si-qi Mei, Bing Yan, Jin Chang, Lu Han, Dan Zhao, Jun Cai

The vegetative insecticidal proteins (Vip), secreted by many Bacillus thuringiensis strains during their vegetative growth stage, are genetically distinct from known insecticidal crystal proteins (ICPs) and represent the second-generation insecticidal toxins. Compared with ICPs, the insecticidal mechanisms of Vip toxins are poorly understood. In particular, there has been no report of a definite receptor of Vip toxins to date. In the present study, we identified the scavenger receptor class C like protein (Sf-SR-C) from the Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells membrane proteins that bind to the biotin labeled Vip3Aa, via the affinity magnetic bead method coupled with HPLC-MS/MS. We then certified Vip3Aa protoxin could interact with Sf-SR-C in vitro and ex vivo. In addition, downregulation of SR-C expression in Sf9 cells and Spodoptera exigua larvae midgut reduced the toxicity of Vip3Aa to them. Coincidently, heterologous expression of Sf-SR-C in transgenic Drosophila midgut significantly enhanced the virulence of Vip3Aa to the Drosophila larvae. Moreover, the complement control protein domain and MAM domain of Sf-SR-C are involved in the interaction with Vip3Aa protoxin. Furthermore, endocytosis of Vip3Aa mediated by Sf-SR-C correlates with its insecticidal activity. Our results confirmed for the first time that Sf-SR-C acts as a receptor for Vip3Aa protoxin and provides an insight into the mode of action of Vip3Aa that will significantly facilitate the study of its insecticidal mechanism and application.

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