Anticarsia gemmatalis Hübner, 1818 is the main soybean defoliating pest in Brazil. The biological control of the species is done with products based on toxins produced by Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt), as bioinsecticides, or in transgenic plants. After activation by intestinal proteases, these toxins interact with receptors, especially cadherin, leading to death due to the formation of cellular pores. In recent years resistant populations have been identified in the laboratory, which can be a problem if the same patterns are found in crops, reducing their control effect. In this paper, we performed a comparative structural analysis of a mutation region for the gene of this receptor in A. gemmatalis, among resistant and susceptible strains treated with a toxin produced by Bt (Cry1Ac). The HaCad fragment of the cadherin gene was amplified by PCR, sequenced, and analyzed by bioinformatics tools. The PCR results were positive for resistant specimens but not for susceptible strains, suggesting the presence of a mutation in the resistant strain. In the sequenced fragments of the resistant insects, six haplotypes were found, and the originated amino acid sequences demonstrated the modification in four sites, which did not interfere with the three-dimensional shape of the protein. These data showed considerable variation taking into account the size of the fragment, even if they do not affect the final structure of the protein. The results allowed a better understanding of the mechanisms of resistance to Cry1Ac in the species, mainly in the involvement of cadherin in this process.
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