Pyrethroid resistance was first reported in 2013 for the navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella, but the genetic underpinnings of pyrethroid resistance are unknown. We investigated the role of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) belonging to the CYP3 and CYP4 clans using colonies derived from individuals collected in 2016 from almond orchards in two counties. One colony (ALM) originated from an almond orchard in Madera County with no reported pyrethroid resistance and the second colony (R347) originated from the same Kern County orchard where pyrethroid resistance was first reported. We used high-throughput quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analyses of 65 P450s in the CYP3 and CYP4 clans of A. transitella to identify P450s induced by bifenthrin and associated with pyrethroid resistance. Nine P450s were constitutively overexpressed in R347 compared to ALM, including CYP6AE54 (11.7-fold), belonging to a subfamily associated with metabolic pesticide detoxification in Lepidoptera and CYP4G89 (33-fold) belonging to a subfamily associated with cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) synthesis and resistance via reduced pesticide penetrance. Cuticular hydrocarbons analysis revealed that R347 produced twice as many total CHCs in the egg and adult stages as ALM. Topical toxicity bioassays for R347 determined that egg mortality was reduced at low bifenthrin concentrations and larval mortality was reduced at high concentrations of bifenthrin compared to ALM. Our discovery of both changes in metabolism and production of CHCs for R347 have implications for the possible decreased efficacy of other classes of insecticide used to control this insect. The threat of widespread pyrethroid resistance combined with the potential for cross-resistance to develop through the mechanism of reduced penetrance warrants developing management strategies that facilitate insecticide passage across the cuticle.
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