Alpha-arylphorin is a mitogen in the Heliothis virescens midgut cell secretome upon Cry1Ac intoxication
Castagnola. A., J. Jackson, O. P. Perera, C. Oppert, S. Eda, and J. L. Jurat-Fuentes.  2017.  PeerJ, 5:e3886.

Insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) target cells in the midgut epithelium of susceptible larvae. While the mode of action of Cry toxins has been extensively investigated, the midgut response to Cry intoxication and its regulation are not well characterized. In this work, we describe the secreted proteome (secretome) of primary mature midgut cell cultures from Heliothis virescens larvae after exposure to Cry1Ac toxin compared to control buffer treatment. The Cry1Ac-induced secretome caused higher proliferation and differentiation and an overall reduction in total cell mortality over time in primary H. virescens midgut stem cell cultures when compared to treatment with control buffer secretome. Differential proteomics identified four proteins with significant differences in abundance comparing Cry1Ac-treated and control secretomes. The most significant difference detected in the Cry1Ac secretome was an arylphorin subunit alpha protein not detected in the control secretome. Feeding of purified alpha-arylphorin to H. virescens larvae resulted in midgut hyperplasia and significantly reduced susceptibility to Cry1Ac toxin compared to controls. These data identify alpha-arylphorin as a protein with a new putative role in the midgut regeneration process in response to Cry1Ac intoxication and possibly pathogen/abiotic stress, identifying alpha-arylphorin as a potential gene to target with insecticidal gene silencing for pest control.