The polyphagous corn earworm Helicoverpa zea relies on cytochrome P450 monooxygenases with broad substrate specificities to cope with the wide diversity of phytochemicals it encounters among its numerous host plants. These enzymes also contribute to the ability of this insect to tolerate toxins from sources other than its hosts, including microbial and synthetic toxins. Although upregulation of xenobiotic-metabolizing P450s in some herbivorous insects is closely linked to host plant toxins, transcriptional and/or post-transcriptional regulation of detoxification in this polyphagous species also appears to be relatively unspecialized. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and metabolic analyses indicate that rare and infrequently encountered phytochemicals, as well as synthetic substances, can enhance metabolic activity in an adaptive fashion against both natural and synthetic toxins.
- Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s)
- Helicoverpa zea
- Plant-insect interactions
- Transcriptional regulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics