Deep Sequencing of Pyrethroid-Resistant Bed Bugs Reveals Multiple Mechanisms of Resistance within a Single Population


A frightening resurgence of bed bug infestations has occurred over the last 10 years in the U.S. and current chemical methods have been inadequate for controlling this pest due to widespread insecticide resistance. Little is known about the mechanisms of resistance present in U.S. bed bug populations, making it extremely difficult to develop intelligent strategies for their control. We have identified bed bugs collected in Richmond, VA which exhibit both kdr-type (L925I) and metabolic resistance to pyrethroid insecticides. Using LD50 bioassays, we determined that resistance ratios for Richmond strain bed bugs were ∼5200-fold to the insecticide deltamethrin. To identify metabolic genes potentially involved in the detoxification of pyrethroids, we performed deep-sequencing of the adult bed bug transcriptome, obtaining more than 2.5 million reads on the 454 titanium platform. Following assembly, analysis of newly identified gene transcripts in both Harlan (susceptible) and Richmond (resistant) bed bugs revealed several candidate cytochrome P450 and carboxylesterase genes which were significantly over-expressed in the resistant strain, consistent with the idea of increased metabolic resistance. These data will accelerate efforts to understand the biochemical basis for insecticide resistance in bed bugs, and provide molecular markers to assist in the surveillance of metabolic resistance.