Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000, Ghent, Belgium; School of Biological Sciences, University of Utah, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA. Electronic address: [Email]
Arthropod herbivores cause dramatic crop losses, and frequent pesticide use has led to widespread resistance in numerous species. One such species, the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is an extreme generalist herbivore and a major worldwide crop pest with a history of rapidly developing resistance to acaricides. Mitochondrial Electron Transport Inhibitors of complex I (METI-Is) have been used extensively in the last 25 years to control T. urticae around the globe, and widespread resistance to each has been documented. METI-I resistance mechanisms in T. urticae are likely complex, as increased metabolism by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases as well as a target-site mutation have been linked with resistance. To identify loci underlying resistance to the METI-I acaricides fenpyroximate, pyridaben and tebufenpyrad without prior hypotheses, we crossed a highly METI-I-resistant strain of T. urticae to a susceptible one, propagated many replicated populations over multiple generations with and without selection by each compound, and performed bulked segregant analysis genetic mapping. Our results showed that while the known H92R target-site mutation was associated with resistance to each compound, a genomic region that included cytochrome P450-reductase (CPR) was associated with resistance to pyridaben and tebufenpyrad. Within CPR, a single nonsynonymous variant distinguished the resistant strain from the sensitive one. Furthermore, a genomic region linked with tebufenpyrad resistance harbored a non-canonical member of the nuclear hormone receptor 96 (NHR96) gene family. This NHR96 gene does not encode a DNA-binding domain (DBD), an uncommon feature in arthropods, and belongs to an expanded family of 47 NHR96 proteins lacking DBDs in T. urticae. Our findings suggest that although cross-resistance to METI-Is involves known detoxification pathways, structural differences in METI-I acaricides have also resulted in resistance mechanisms that are compound-specific.