Calyx fluid proteins of two Cotesia sesamiae (Cameron) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) biotypes in Kenya: implications to biological control of the stem borer Busseola fusca (Fuller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
Gitau, C. W.
Ngi-Song, A. J.
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Cotesia sesamiae (Cameron) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is an indigenous larval endoparasitoid of Busseola fusca (Fuller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, reports suggest that C. sesamiae occurs as two biotypes. Biotype avirulent to B. fusca gets encapsulated by haemocytes in this host and is unable to complete development. Biotype virulent to B. fusca is able to overcome immune defences. Factors present in the calyx fluid such as the PolyDNAviruses (PDV), venom and calyx fluid proteins have been implicated in the variation of C. sesamiae virulence against B. fusca. In the present study, calyx fluid proteins of the two C. sesamiae biotypes were compared using 2-D gel electrophoresis. More protein spots were observed in the virulent parasitoid calyx fluid, but some proteins were specifically observed in the avirulent parasitoid calyx fluid while others were observed in both. To study changes in proteins due to parasitism of B. fusca larvae by the two strains, SDS-PAGE gel were performed on fat body tissues and the haemolymph at three time points. Differences between the two strains were observed in both the fat body and haemolymph tissues. Parasitism-specific protein bands were detectable in fat body tissues of B. fusca larvae parasitized by the two C. sesamiae strains. These proteins were absent in unparasitized larvae. Implications for using C. sesamiae as a biocontrol agent of B. fusca in Africa are discussed.