Although transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins have been used successfully for management of lepidopteran and coleopteran pest species, the sap-sucking insects (Hemiptera) are not particularly susceptible to Bt toxins. To overcome this limitation, we demonstrate that addition of a short peptide sequence selected for binding to the gut of the targeted pest species serves to increase toxicity against said pest. Insertion of a 12-aa pea aphid gut-binding peptide by adding to or replacing amino acids in one of three loops of the Bt cytolytic toxin, Cyt2Aa, resulted in enhanced binding and toxicity against both the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. This strategy may allow for transgenic plant-mediated suppression of other hemipteran pests, which include some of the most important pests of global agriculture.
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