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Title:
INSECTICIDAL PROTEINS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/076472
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Compositions and methods for controlling insect pests are disclosed. In particular, novel insecticidal proteins having toxicity to at least coleopteran insect pests are provided. Nucleic acid molecules encoding the novel insecticidal proteins are also provided. Methods of making the insecticidal proteins and methods of using the insecticidal proteins and nucleic acids encoding the insecticidal proteins of the disclosure, for example in transgenic plants to confer protection from insect damage, are also disclosed.

Inventors:
REYNOLDS CLARENCE MICHAEL (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/055326
Publication Date:
April 22, 2021
Filing Date:
October 13, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SYNGENTA CROP PROTECTION AG (CH)
International Classes:
C12N15/82; A01N63/20; C07K14/195
Domestic Patent References:
WO2018081194A12018-05-03
Foreign References:
US20110287443A12011-11-24
Other References:
HYPOTHETICAL PROTEIN [ENSIFER ARIDI, 5 April 2017 (2017-04-05), pages 1, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20210212]
LIU, L ET AL.: "Identification and Evaluations of Novel Insecticidal Proteins from Plants of the Class Polypodiopsida for Crop Protection against Key Lepidopteran Pests", TOXINS, vol. 11, no. 7, 1 July 2019 (2019-07-01), pages 1 - 25, XP055819992, DOI: 10.3390/toxinsl 1070383
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KROM, Amy (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence that encodes a protein that is toxic to an insect pest, wherein the nucleotide sequence (a) encodes a protein comprising an amino acid sequence that has at least 80% to at least 99% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; or (b) has at least 80% to at least 99% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; or (c) is a synthetic sequence of (a) or (b) that has codons optimized for expression in a transgenic organism.

2. The nucleic acid molecule of claim 1, wherein the insecticidal protein comprises an amino acid sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxic fragment thereof.

3. The nucleic acid molecule of claim 1, wherein the nucleotide sequence comprises any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof.

4. The nucleic acid molecule of claim 1, wherein the synthetic nucleotide sequence comprises any of SEQ ID NOs:26-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof.

5. A chimeric gene comprising a heterologous promoter operably linked to the nucleic acid molecule of any one of claims 1-4.

6. The chimeric gene of claim 5, wherein the heterologous promoter is a plant expressible promoter.

7. The chimeric gene of claim 6, wherein the plant expressible promoter is selected from the group of promoters consisting of ubiquitin, oestrum yellow virus, com TrpA, OsMADS 6, maize H3 histone, bacteriophage T3 gene 95' UTR, corn sucrose synthetase 1, corn alcohol dehydrogenase 1, corn light harvesting complex, com heat shock protein, maize mtl, pea small subunit RuBP carboxylase, rice actin, rice cyclophilin, Ti plasmid mannopine synthase, Ti plasmid nopaline synthase, petunia chalcone isomerase, bean glycine rich protein 1, potato patatin, lectin, CaMV 35S and S-E9 small subunit RuBP carboxylase promoter.

8. The chimeric gene of claim 5, wherein the insect pest is a coleopteran insect pest.

9. The chimeric gene of claim 8, wherein the coleopteran insect pest is a Diabrotica insect pest.

10. The chimeric gene of claim 9, wherein the Diabrotica insect pest is selected from the group consisting of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Diabrotica barberi, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi and Diabrotica zeae.

11. The chimeric gene of claim 5, wherein the transgenic organism is a bacteria or a plant.

12. The chimeric gene of claim 11, wherein the transgenic bacteria is selected from the group of genera consisting of Bacillus, Clostridium, Xenorhabdus, Photorhabdus, Pasteuria, Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Erwinia, Serratia, Klebsiella, Salmonella, Pasteurella, Xanthomonas, Streptomyces, Rhizobium, Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Rhodopseudomonas, Methylophilius, Agrobacterium,

Acetobacter, Lactobacillus, Arthrobacter, Azotobacter, Leuconostoc, and Alcaligenes.

13. The chimeric gene of claim 11, wherein the plant is a maize plant.

14. A protein that is toxic to an insect pest, wherein the protein comprises (a) an amino acid sequence that has at least 80% to at least 99% sequence identity with an amino acid sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; or (b) an amino acid sequence that comprises any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; or (c) an amino acid sequence that is encoded by a nucleotide sequence that has at least 80% to at least 99% sequence identity with a nucleotide sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs:21-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; or (d) an amino acid sequence that is encoded by a nucleotide sequence comprising any of SEQ ID NOs:21-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; or (e) an amino acid sequence of (a)-(d) that comprises a cytotoxin domain selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO:50, SEQ ID NO:51, SEQ ID NO:52 and SEQ ID NO:53.

15. The protein of claim 14, wherein the insect pest is a coleopteran insect pest.

16. The protein of claim 15, wherein the coleopteran insect pest is a Diabrotica insect pest.

17. The protein of claim 16, wherein the Diabrotica insect pest is selected from the group consisting of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Diabrotica barberi, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi and Diabrotica zeae.

18. A recombinant vector comprising the chimeric gene of claim 5.

19. A host cell comprising the recombinant vector of claim 18, wherein the host cell is a bacterial cell or plant cell.

20. The transgenic bacterial cell of claim 19, wherein the bacterial cell is in the genus Bacillus, Clostridium, Xenorhabdus, Photorhabdus, Pasteuria, Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Erwinia, Serratia, Klebsiella, Salmonella, Pasteurella, Xanthomonas, Streptomyces, Rhizobium, Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Rhodopseudomonas, Methylophilius, Agrobacterium, Acetobacter, Lactobacillus, Arthrobacter, Azotobacter, Leuconostoc, or Alcaligenes.

21. The transgenic Bacillus cell of claim 20, wherein the Bacillus cell is a Bacillus thuringiensis cell.

22. The transgenic plant cell of claim 19, wherein the plant cell is a dicot plant cell or a monocot plant cell.

23. The transgenic plant cell of claim 22, wherein (a) the dicot plant cell is selected from the group consisting of a soybean cell, sunflower cell, tomato cell, cole crop cell, cotton cell, sugar beet cell and tobacco cell; or (b) the monocot plant cell is selected from the group consisting of a barley cell, maize cell, oat cell, rice cell, sorghum cell, sugar cane cell and wheat cell.

24. A transgenic plant or plant part comprising the transgenic plant cell of claim 23.

25. The transgenic pant or plant part of claim 24 that is a transgenic maize plant or plant part.

26. An engineered insecticidal protein comprising an amino acid sequence having at least 80% to at least 99% sequence identity to a) SEQ ID NO: 1 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to any of amino acid positions 1-345 of SEQ ID NO: 1, or any combination thereof; or b) SEQ ID NO:2 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to any of amino acid positions 1-344 of SEQ ID NO:2, or any combination thereof; or c) SEQ ID NO:3 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to any of amino acid positions 1-351 of SEQ ID NO:3, or any combination thereof; or d) SEQ ID NO:4 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to any of amino acid positions 1-347 of SEQ ID NO:4, or any combination thereof.

27. The engineered insecticidal protein of claim 26, wherein the mutation is at an amino acid position that corresponds to amino acid position 50, 52, 56, 62, 64, 81, 126, 153, 169, 185, 207, 219 or 275 of SEQ ID NO:3, or any combination thereof.

28. The engineered insecticidal protein of claim 27, wherein the mutation is at position 50, 52, 56, 62, 64, 81, 126, 153, 169, 185, 207, 219 or 275 of SEQ ID NO:3.

29. The engineered insecticidal protein of claim 28, wherein the mutation at position 50 is I50L, the mutation at position 52 is I52L, the mutation at position 56 is I56L, the mutation at position 62 is A62C or A62L, the mutation at position 64 is A64C or A64L, the mutation at position 81 is I81L, the mutation at position 126 is I126L, the mutation at position 153 is I153L, the mutation at position 169 is I169L, the mutation at position 185 is I185L, the mutation at position 207 is I207L, the mutation at position 219 I219L is or the mutation at position 275 is I275L.

30. The engineered insecticidal protein of claim 29, wherein the protein comprises an amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, SEQ ID NO: 10, SEQ ID NO:ll, SEQ ID NO:12, SEQ ID NO:13, SEQ ID NO:14, SEQ ID NO:15, SEQ ID NO:16, SEQ ID NO: 17, SEQ ID NO: 18, SEQ ID NO: 19 or SEQ ID NO:20.

31. The engineered insecticidal protein of any one of claims 26-30, wherein the protein has activity against at least a coleopteran insect pest.

32. The engineered insecticidal protein of claim 31, wherein the coleopteran insect pest is a Diabrotica insect pest.

33. The engineered insecticidal protein of claim 32, wherein the Diabrotica insect pest is selected from the group consisting of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Diabrotica barberi, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi and Diabrotica zeae.

34. An insecticidal composition comprising the protein of claim 14 and an agriculturally acceptable carrier.

35. The composition of claim 34, wherein the agriculturally acceptable carrier is selected from the group consisting of a powder, dust, pellet, granule, spray, emulsion, colloid, and solution.

36. The composition of claim 34, wherein the composition is prepared by desiccation, lyophilization, homogenization, extraction, filtration, centrifugation, sedimentation, or concentration of a culture of a strain of Bacillus thuringiensis .

37. The composition of claim 34, comprising from about 1% to about 99% by weight of the insecticidal protein.

38. The composition of any one of claims 34-37, wherein the composition further comprises a second pesticidal agent.

39. The composition of claim 38, wherein the second pesticidal agent is a biological agent or a chemical agent.

40. The composition of claim 39, wherein (a) the biological agent is or is derived from a Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal protein, a Bacillus cereus insecticidal protein, a Xenorhabdus spp. insecticidal protein, a Photorhabdus spp. insecticidal protein, a Brevibacillus laterosporous insecticidal protein, a Lysinibacillus sphearicus insecticidal protein, a Chromobacterium spp. insecticidal protein, a Yersinia entomophaga insecticidal protein, a Paenibacillus popiliae insecticidal protein, or a Clostridium spp. insecticidal protein; (b) the biological agent is or is derived from a dsRNA, a Cry protein, a Vip protein, a patatin, a protease, a protease inhibitor, a urease, an alpha- amylase inhibitor, a pore-forming protein, a lectin, an engineered antibody or antibody fragment, or a chitinase; (c) the chemical agent is a carbamate, a pyrethroid, an organophosphate, a friprole, a neonicotinoid, an organochloride, a nereistoxin, or a combination thereof; or (d) the chemical agent comprises an active ingredient selected from the group consisting of carbofuran, carbaryl, methomyl, bifenthrin, tefluthrin, permethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos, chlorethoxyfos, dimethoate, ethoprophos, malathion, methyl-parathion, phorate, terbufos, tebupirimiphos, fipronil, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, endosulfan, bensultap, and a combination thereof.

41. A method for producing an insecticidal protein, comprising culturing the host cell of claim 17 or an organism comprising the host cell under conditions in which the host cell produces the insecticidal protein.

42. A method of producing a transgenic plant or plant part having enhanced insect resistance compared to a control plant or plant part, comprising: (a) introducing into a plant or plant part the chimeric gene of claim 5, wherein the insecticidal protein is expressed in the plant or plant part, thereby producing a plant or plant part with enhanced insect-resistance.

43. The method of claim 42, wherein the introducing step is achieved by (a) transforming the plant or plant part; or (b) crossing a first plant comprising the chimeric gene with a different second plant.

44. The method of claim 43, wherein the chimeric gene encodes an insecticidal protein having an amino acid sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21.

45. A method of controlling an insect pest comprising, delivering to the insect pest or an environment thereof an effective amount of the insecticidal protein of claim 12.

46. The method of claim 45, wherein the insecticidal protein is delivered through a transgenic plant or by topical application of an insecticidal composition comprising the insecticidal protein.

47. The method of claim 46, wherein the transgenic plant or the insecticidal composition comprises a second insecticidal agent different from the insecticidal protein.

48. The method of claim 47, wherein the second insecticidal agent is a protein, a dsRNA or a chemical.

49. The method of claim 48, wherein (a) the protein is selected from the group consisting of a Cry protein, a Vip protein, a patatin, a protease, a protease inhibitor, a urease, an alpha-amylase inhibitor, a pore-forming protein, a lectin, an engineered antibody or antibody fragment, or a chitinase; (b) the chemical is a carbamate, a pyrethroid, an organophosphate, a friprole, a neonicotinoid, an organochloride, a nereistoxin, or a combination thereof; or (c) the chemical comprises an active ingredient selected from the group consisting of carbofuran, carbaryl, methomyl, bifenthrin, tefluthrin, permethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos, chlorethoxyfos, dimethoate, ethoprophos, malathion, methyl-parathion, phorate, terbufos, tebupirimiphos, fipronil, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, endosulfan, bensultap, and a combination thereof.

50. The method of any one of claims 45-49, wherein the insect pest is a coleopteran insect pest.

51. The method of 50, wherein the coleopteran insect pest is a Diabrotica species.

52. The method of claim 51, wherein the Diabrotica species is selected from the group consisting of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Diabrotica barberi, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi and Diabrotica zeae.

53. A method of reducing resistance development in a Diabrotica insect population to an insecticidal protein of claim 5, the method comprising expressing in a transgenic plant fed upon by the Diabrotica insect population the insecticidal protein and an interfering RNA molecule which inhibits expression of a target gene in a larval and adult Diabrotica insect, thereby reducing resistance development in the Diabrotica insect population compared to a Diabrotica insect population exposed only to the insecticidal protein.

54. A method of providing a corn grower with a means of controlling a Diabrotica insect pest population in a corn crop comprising (a) selling or providing to the grower transgenic corn seed that comprises a nucleic acid molecule of claim 1; and (b) advertising to the grower that the transgenic corn seed produce transgenic com plants that control a Diabrotica pest population.

55. A method of identifying an insecticidal protein comprising a nucleotide sequence having from at least 80% to at least 99% sequence identity to any of SEQ ID NOs:22-25, said method comprising the steps of: (a) producing a primer pair that will amplify a polynucleotide of any of SEQ ID NOs:21- 25 from a nucleic acid sample, or a complement thereof, (b) amplifying an orthologous gene from the nucleic acid sample, (c) identifying a polynucleotide sequence of an orthologous gene, (d) producing a protein encoded by the orthologous gene, and (e) determining that the protein of step (d) has insecticidal activity against an insect pest.

56. A variant insecticidal protein, comprising an amino acid substitution corresponding to an amino acid substitution in SEQ ID NO:3 selected from the group consisting of I50L, I53L, A62C or L, A64C or L, I81L, I126L, I153L, I169L, I185L, I207L, I219L and I275L, wherein the variant has at least 90% identity to SEQ ID NO:3 and has activity against a Diabrotica insect pest.

Description:
INSECTICIDAL PROTEINS

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS [001] This application claims priority to US Provisional Application No. 62/914,667, filed October 14, 2019, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING [002] A Sequence Listing in ASCII text format, submitted under 37 C.F.R. § 1.821, entitled “81942-WO-REG-ORG-P-l_ST25.txt”, approximately 113 kilobytes in size, generated on September 30, 2020 and filed via EFS-Web, is provided in lieu of a paper copy. This Sequence Listing is hereby incorporated by reference into the specification for its disclosures.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[003] The present invention relates to the fields of protein engineering, plant molecular biology and pest control. More particularly the invention relates to a novel protein and its variants having insecticidal activity, nucleic acids whose expression results in the insecticidal proteins, and methods of making and methods of using the insecticidal proteins and corresponding nucleic acids to control insects.

BACKGROUND

[004] Insect pests are a major cause of crop losses. In the United States alone, billions of dollars are lost every year due to infestation by various genera of insects. In addition to losses in field crops, insect pests are also a burden to vegetable and fruit growers, to producers of ornamental flowers, and they are a nuisance to gardeners and homeowners.

[005] Species of com rootworm are considered to be the most destructive corn pests. In the United States alone, three species, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, the western corn rootworm, D. longicornis barberi, the northern com rootworm and D. undecimpunctata howardi, the southern corn rootworm, cause over one billion dollars in damage to corn each year in the US corn belt. An important com rootworm pest in the Southern US is the Mexican com rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera zeae. In South America, Diabrotica speciosa is considered to be an important pest of com. Western com rootworm spread to Europe in 1992 and since 2008 has been causing economic damage throughout the major corn growing regions. Corn rootworm larvae cause the most substantial plant damage by feeding almost exclusively on corn roots. This injury has been shown to increase plant lodging, to reduce grain yield and vegetative yield as well as alter the nutrient content of the grain. Larval feeding also causes indirect effects on com by opening avenues through the roots for bacterial and fungal infections which lead to root and stalk rot diseases. Adult corn rootworms are active in cornfields in late summer where they feed on ears, silks and pollen, thus interfering with normal pollination.

[006] Com rootworms are mainly controlled by intensive applications of chemical pesticides, which are active through inhibition of insect growth, prevention of insect feeding or reproduction, or cause death. Good com rootworm control can thus be reached, but these chemicals can sometimes also affect other, beneficial organisms. Another problem resulting from the wide use of chemical pesticides is the appearance of resistant insect populations. Yet another problem is due to the fact that corn rootworm larvae feed underground thus making it difficult to apply rescue treatments of insecticides. Therefore, most insecticide applications are made prophylactically at the time of planting. This practice results in a large environmental burden. This has been partially alleviated by various farm management practices, but there is an increasing need for alternative pest control mechanisms.

[007] Biological pest control agents, such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) strains expressing pesticidal toxins like d-endotoxins (delta-endotoxins; also called crystal toxins or Cry proteins), have been applied to crop plants on a small scale with satisfactory results against certain insect pests. The d- endotoxins are proteins held within a crystalline matrix that are known to possess insecticidal activity when ingested by certain insects. Such Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis have been expressed in transgenic crop plants and exploited commercially to control certain lepidopteran and coleopteran insect pests. For example, starting in 2003, transgenic corn hybrids that control com rootworm by expressing a Cry3Bbl, Cry34Abl/Cry35Abl or modified Cry3A (mCry3A) or eCry3.1Ab protein have been available commercially in the US.

[008] Although the use of transgenic plants expressing Cry proteins has been shown to be extremely effective, insect pests that now have resistance against the Cry proteins expressed in certain transgenic plants are known. Therefore, there remains a need to identify new and effective pest control proteins that provide an economic benefit to farmers and that are environmentally acceptable. Particularly needed are proteins that are toxic to Diabrotica species, a major pest of com, that have a different mode of action than the Cry proteins in existing insect control products as a way to mitigate the development of resistance. Furthermore, delivery of insect control proteins through products that minimize the burden on the environment, as through transgenic plants, are desirable.

SUMMARY

[009] In view of these needs, the present disclosure provides, in some embodiments, insecticidal proteins derived particularly from bacteria in the family Rhizobiaceae, but may be derived from other types of bacteria as well. Examples of such insecticidal proteins are exemplified herein and this class of insecticidal proteins, whether derived from Rhizobiaceae or other different bacteria is collectively designated Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Proteins (RIPs). The disclosure also provides variants of the RIPs, and proteins which are substantially identical to the RIPs and their variants. Examples of amino acid sequences of RIPs of the disclosure, include, but are not limited to, any of SEQ ID NOs:l-21.

The RIPs of the disclosure have toxicity to insect pests. For example, the proteins of the disclosure can be used to control economically important insect pests, including coleopteran insects such as western com rootworm (WCR; Diabrotica virgifera virgiferd), northern corn rootworm (NCR; D. longicornis barberi ), southern com rootworm (SCR; D. undecimpunctata howardi) and/or Mexican corn rootworm (MCR; D. virgifera zeae).

[010] The disclosure further provides nucleic acid molecules comprising one or more nucleotide sequences that encode a RIP or a variant RIP and their complements, or nucleotide sequences that are substantially identical to a RIP or a variant RIP. Examples of nucleotide sequences that encode a RIP or variant RIP of the disclosure include, but are not limited to, any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49 [Oil] Also provided by the disclosure are vectors comprising recombinant nucleic acids that encode a RIP and/or variant RIP of the disclosure; a plant or microorganism which includes and enables expression of such nucleic acids; plants transformed with such nucleic acids, for example transgenic com plants; the progeny of such plants which contain the nucleic acids stably incorporated and hereditable in a Mendelian manner, and/or the seeds of such plants and such progeny. The disclosure also provides methods of breeding to introduce a transgene comprising a nucleic acid molecule of the disclosure into a progeny plant and into various germplasms.

[012] The disclosure also provides compositions and formulations containing a RIP and/or variant RIP of the disclosure, which are capable of inhibiting the ability of insect pests to survive, grow and/or reproduce, or of limiting insect-related damage or loss to crop plants, for example applying a RIP, or variant thereof, as part of compositions or formulations to insect-infested areas or plants, or to prophylactically treat insect-susceptible areas or plants to confer protection against the insect pests. [013] The disclosure further provides a method of making a RIP, or variant thereof, and to methods of using the nucleic acids, for example in microorganisms to control insects or in transgenic plants to confer protection from insect damage. Such microorganisms can be, for example, an endophytic species that colonizes maize roots and delivers a RIP of the disclosure to the maize rhizosphere, thus protecting the roots from corn rootworm feeding damage.

[014] The RIPs and/or variant RIPs of the disclosure can be used singly or in combination with other insect control agents and strategies to confer enhanced pest control efficiency against the same insect pest and/or to increase the spectrum of target insects with minimal environmental impact.

[015] Other aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a study of the following description of the invention and non-limiting examples. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEQUENCES IN THE SEQUENCE LISTING

SEQ ID NO:l is a Ensif aridCRW (RIPlAa) amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:2 is a Sinorhiz_GL28CRW (RIP2Aa) amino acid sequence. SEQ ID NO:3 is a Rhizo bactCRW (RIP3Aa) amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:4 is a Rhiz SPYCRW (RIP4Aa) amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:5 represents variant RIP3Aa amino acid sequences.

SEQ ID NO:6 is a RIP3Aa-I50L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:7 is a RIP3Aa-I53L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:8 is a RIP3Aa-I56L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:9 is a RIP3Aa-A62C amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 10 is a RIP3Aa-A62L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 11 is RIP3Aa-A64C amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 12 is a RIP3Aa-A64L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 13 is a RIP3Aa-I81L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 14 is a RIP3Aa-I126L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 15 is a RIP3Aa-I153L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 16 is a RIP3Aa-I169L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 17 is a RIP3Aa-I185L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 18 is a RIP3Aa-I207L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO: 19 is a RIP3Aa-I219L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:20 is a RIP3Aa-I275L amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:21 is a SUMO-RIPlAa amino acid sequence.

SEQ ID NO:22 is a Ensif aridCRW {rip lAa) nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:23 is a Sinorhiz_GL28CRW ( rip2Aa ) nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:24 is a Rhizo bactCRW (rip 3 Ad) nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:25 is a Rhiz SPYCRW (rip4Aa) nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:26 is a riplAa E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:27 is a rip2Aa E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:28 is a rip3Aa E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:29 is a rip4Aa E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:30 is a rip3Aa-150L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:31 is a rip3Aa-I53L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:32 is a rip3Aa-I56L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:33 is a rip3Aa-A62C E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:34 is a rip3Aa-A62L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:35 is a rip3Aa-A64L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence. SEQ ID NO:36 is a rip3Aa-A64C E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:37 is a rip3Aa-I81L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:38 is a rip3Aa-I126L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:39 is a rip3Aa-I153L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:40 is a rip3Aa-I169L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:41 is a rip3Aa-I185L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:42 is a rip3Aa-I207L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:43 is a rip3Aa-I219L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:44 is a rip3Aa-I275L E. coli optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:45 is a SUMO-riplAa nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:46 is a riplAa maize-optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:47 is a rip2Aa maize-optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:48 is a rip3Aa maize-optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:49 is rip4Aa maize-optimized nucleotide sequence.

SEQ ID NO:50 comprises a RIPlAa cytotoxin domain.

SEQ ID NO:51 comprises a RIP2Aa cytotoxin domain.

SEQ ID NO:52 comprises a RIP3Aa cytotoxin domain.

SEQ ID NO:53 comprises a RIP4Aa cytotoxin domain.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[016] This description is not intended to be a detailed catalog of all the different ways in which the invention may be implemented, or all the features that may be added to the invention. For example, features illustrated with respect to one embodiment may be incorporated into other embodiments, and features illustrated with respect to a particular embodiment may be deleted from that embodiment. Thus, the invention contemplates that in some embodiments of the invention, any feature or combination of features set forth herein can be excluded or omitted. In addition, numerous variations and additions to the various embodiments suggested herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the instant disclosure, which do not depart from the instant invention. Hence, the following descriptions are intended to illustrate some particular embodiments of the invention, and not to exhaustively specify all permutations, combinations and variations thereof.

[017] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. The terminology used in the description of the invention herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. [018] All publications, patent applications, patents and other references cited herein are incorporated by reference in their entireties for the teachings relevant to the sentence and/or paragraph in which the reference is presented.

[019] Nucleotide sequences provided herein are presented in the 5’ to 3’ direction, from left to right and are presented using the standard code for representing nucleotide bases as set forth in 37 C.F.R. §§1.821 - 1.825 and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standard ST.25, for example: adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T), and guanine (G).

[020] Amino acids are likewise indicated using the WIPO Standard ST.25, for example: alanine (Ala; A), arginine (Arg; R), asparagine (Asn; N), aspartic acid (Asp; D), cysteine (Cys; C), glutamine (Gin; Q), glutamic acid (Glu; E), glycine (Gly; G), histidine (His; H), isoleucine (lie; 1), leucine (Leu; L), lysine (Lys; K), methionine (Met; M), phenylalanine (Phe; F), proline (Pro; P), serine (Ser; S), threonine (Thr; T), tryptophan (Trp; W), tyrosine (Tyr; Y), and valine (Val; V). As used herein, an “X” or “Xaa” in an amino acid sequence denotes that the amino acid in that position can be any of the 20 known amino acid or can be any of the enumerated amino acids recited herein.

[021] Unless the context indicates otherwise, it is specifically intended that the various features of the invention described herein can be used in any combination. Moreover, the present invention also contemplates that in some embodiments of the invention, any feature or combination of features set forth herein can be excluded or omitted. To illustrate, if the specification states that a composition comprises components A, B and C, it is specifically intended that any of A, B or C, or a combination thereof, can be omitted and disclaimed singularly or in any combination.

Definitions

[022] As utilized in accordance with the present disclosure, the following terms, unless otherwise indicated, shall be understood to have the following meanings:

[023] As used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to “a plant” is a reference to one or more plants and includes equivalents thereof known to those skilled in the art, and so forth.

[024] As used herein, the word “and/or” refers to and encompasses any and all possible combinations of one or more of the associated listed items, as well as the lack of combinations when interpreted in the alternative, “or.”

[025] The term “about” is used herein to mean approximately, roughly, around, or in the region of. When the term “about” is used in conjunction with a numerical range, it modifies that range by extending the boundaries above and below the numerical values set forth. In general, the term “about” is used herein to modify a numerical value above and below the stated value by a variance of 20 percent, preferably 10 percent up or down (higher or lower). With regard to a temperature the term “about” means ± 1 °C, preferably ± 0.5°C. Where the term “about” is used in the context of this invention (e.g., in combinations with temperature or molecular weight values) the exact value (i.e., without “about”) is preferred.

[026] As used herein, phrases such as “between about X and Y”, “between about X and about Y”, “from X to Y” and “from about X to about Y” (and similar phrases) should be interpreted to include X and Y, unless the context indicates otherwise.

[027] As used herein, the term “amplified” means the construction of multiple copies of a nucleic acid molecule or multiple copies complementary to the nucleic acid molecule using at least one of the nucleic acid molecules as a template. Amplification systems include the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) system, ligase chain reaction (LCR) system, nucleic acid sequence based amplification (NASBA, Cangene, Mississauga, Ontario), Q-Beta Replicase systems, transcription-based amplification system (TAS), and strand displacement amplification (SDA). See, e.g., Diagnostic Molecular Microbiology: Principles and Applications, PERSING et al., Ed., American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C. (1993). The product of amplification is termed an “amplicon.”

[028] “Activity” of the insecticidal proteins of the disclosure is meant that the insecticidal proteins function as orally active insect control agents, have a toxic effect, and/or are able to disrupt or deter insect feeding, which may or may not cause death of the insect. When an insecticidal protein of the disclosure is delivered to the insect, the result is typically death of the insect, or the insect does not feed upon the source that makes the insecticidal protein available to the insect. “Pesticidal” is defined as a toxic biological activity capable of controlling a pest, such as an insect, nematode, fungus, bacteria, or virus, preferably by killing or destroying them. “Insecticidal” is defined as a toxic biological activity capable of controlling insects, preferably by killing them. A “pesticidal agent” is an agent that has pesticidal activity. An “insecticidal agent” is an agent that has insecticidal activity. [029] The term “chimeric construct” or “chimeric gene” or “chimeric polynucleotide” or “chimeric nucleic acid” (or similar terms) as used herein refers to a construct or molecule comprising two or more polynucleotides of different origin assembled into a single nucleic acid molecule. The term “chimeric construct”, “chimeric gene”, “chimeric polynucleotide” or “chimeric nucleic acid” refers to any construct or molecule that contains, without limitation, (1) polynucleotides {e.g., DNA) , including regulatory and coding polynucleotides that are not found together in nature (i.e., at least one of the polynucleotides in the construct is heterologous with respect to at least one of its other polynucleotides), or (2) polynucleotides encoding parts of proteins not naturally adjoined, or (3) parts of promoters that are not naturally adjoined. Further, a chimeric construct, chimeric gene, chimeric polynucleotide or chimeric nucleic acid may comprise regulatory polynucleotides and coding polynucleotides that are derived from different sources, or comprise regulatory polynucleotides and coding polynucleotides derived from the same source, but arranged in a manner different from that found in nature. In some embodiments of the disclosure, the chimeric construct, chimeric gene, chimeric polynucleotide or chimeric nucleic acid comprises an expression cassette comprising a polynucleotide of the disclosure under the control of regulatory polynucleotides, particularly under the control of regulatory polynucleotides functional in plants or bacteria.

[030] A “coding sequence” is a nucleic acid sequence that is transcribed into RNA such as mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, snRNA, sense RNA or antisense RNA. Preferably the RNA is then translated in an organism to produce a protein.

[031] To “control” insects means to inhibit, through a toxic effect, the ability of insect pests to survive, grow, feed, and/or reproduce, or to limit insect-related damage or loss in crop plants. To “control” insects may or may not mean killing the insects, although it preferably means killing the insects.

[032] As used herein, a “codon optimized” sequence means a nucleotide sequence wherein the codons are chosen to reflect the particular codon bias that a host cell or organism may have. This is typically done in such a way so as to preserve the amino acid sequence of the polypeptide encoded by the nucleotide sequence to be optimized. In certain embodiments, the DNA sequence of the recombinant DNA construct includes sequence that has been codon optimized for the cell (e.g., an animal, plant, or fungal cell) in which the construct is to be expressed. For example, a construct to be expressed in a plant cell can have all or parts of its sequence (e.g., the first gene suppression element or the gene expression element) codon optimized for expression in a plant. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,121,014, incorporated herein by reference.

[033] The terms “comprises” or “comprising,” when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, or groups thereof.

[034] As used herein, the transitional phrase “consisting essentially of’ (and grammatical variants) means that the scope of a claim is to be interpreted to encompass the specified materials or steps recited in the claim” and those that do not materially alter the basic and novel characteristic(s)” of the claimed invention. Thus, the term “consisting essentially of’ when used in a claim of this invention is not intended to be interpreted to be equivalent to “comprising.”

[035] In the context of the disclosure, “corresponding to” or “corresponds to” means that when the amino acid sequences of variant or homolog proteins are aligned with each other, the amino acids that “correspond to” certain enumerated positions in the variant or homolog protein are those that align with these positions in a reference protein but that are not necessarily in these exact numerical positions relative to the particular reference amino acid sequence of the disclosure. For example, if SEQ ID NO:l is the reference sequence and is aligned with SEQ ID NO:2, amino acid Leu (L) at position 153 (L153) of SEQ ID NO:2 “corresponds to” a Leu (L) at position 154 (L154) of SEQ ID NO: 1, or for example, Asn (N) at position 2 (N2) of SEQ ID NO:2 “corresponds to” Ala (A) A2 of SEQ ID NO:l.

[036] To “deliver” a composition or a toxic protein means that the composition or toxic protein comes in contact with an insect, which facilitates the oral ingestion of the composition or toxic protein, resulting in a toxic effect and control of the insect. The composition or toxic protein can be delivered in many recognized ways, including but not limited to, transgenic plant expression, formulated protein composition(s), sprayable protein composition(s), a bait matrix, or any other art- recognized protein delivery system.

[037] The term “domain” refers to a set of amino acids conserved at specific positions along an alignment of sequences of evolutionarily related proteins. While amino acids at other positions can vary between homologs, amino acids that are highly conserved at specific positions indicate amino acids that are likely essential in the structure, stability or function of a protein. Identified by their high degree of conservation in aligned sequences of a family of protein homologs, they can be used as identifiers to determine if any polypeptide in question belongs to a previously identified polypeptide group.

[038] “Effective insect-controlling amount” means that concentration of an insecticidal protein that inhibits, through a toxic effect, the ability of insects to survive, grow, feed and/or reproduce, or to limit insect-related damage or loss in crop plants. “Effective insect-controlling amount” may or may not mean killing the insects, although it preferably means killing the insects.

[039] “Expression cassette” as used herein means a nucleic acid sequence capable of directing expression of a particular nucleotide sequence in an appropriate host cell, comprising a promoter operably linked to the nucleotide sequence of interest which is operably linked to termination signals. It also typically comprises sequences required for proper translation of the nucleotide sequence. The expression cassette comprising the nucleotide sequence of interest may have at least one of its components heterologous with respect to at least one of its other components. The expression cassette may also be one that is naturally occurring but has been obtained in a recombinant form useful for heterologous expression. Typically, however, the expression cassette is heterologous with respect to the host, i.e., the particular nucleic acid sequence of the expression cassette does not occur naturally in the host cell and must have been introduced into the host cell or an ancestor of the host cell by a transformation event. The expression of the nucleotide sequence in the expression cassette may be under the control of a constitutive promoter or of an inducible promoter that initiates transcription only when the host cell is exposed to some particular external stimulus. In the case of a multicellular organism, such as a plant, the promoter can also be specific to a particular tissue, or organ, or stage of development.

[040] An expression cassette comprising a nucleotide sequence of interest may be chimeric, meaning that at least one of its components is heterologous with respect to at least one of its other components. An expression cassette may also be one that comprises a native promoter driving its native gene, however it has been obtained in a recombinant form useful for heterologous expression. Such usage of an expression cassette makes it so it is not naturally occurring in the cell into which it has been introduced.

[041] An expression cassette also can optionally include a transcriptional and/or translational termination region (i.e., termination region) that is functional in plants. A variety of transcriptional terminators are available for use in expression cassettes and are responsible for the termination of transcription beyond the heterologous nucleotide sequence of interest and correct mRNA polyadenylation. The termination region may be native to the transcriptional initiation region, may be native to the operably linked nucleotide sequence of interest, may be native to the plant host, or may be derived from another source (i.e., foreign or heterologous to the promoter, the nucleotide sequence of interest, the plant host, or any combination thereof). Appropriate transcriptional terminators include, but are not limited to, the CAMV 35S terminator, the tml terminator, the nopaline synthase terminator and/or the pea rbcs E9 terminator. These can be used in both monocotyledons and dicotyledons. In addition, a coding sequence's native transcription terminator can be used. Any available terminator known to function in plants can be used in the context of this disclosure.

[042] The term “expression” when used with reference to a polynucleotide, such as a gene, ORF or portion thereof, or a transgene in plants, refers to the process of converting genetic information encoded in a gene into RNA (e.g., mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, or snRNA) through “transcription” of the gene (i.e., via the enzymatic action of an RNA polymerase), and into protein where applicable (e.g. if a gene encodes a protein), through “translation” of mRNA. Gene expression can be regulated at many stages in the process. For example, in the case of antisense or dsRNA constructs, respectively, expression may refer to the transcription of the antisense RNA only or the dsRNA only. In embodiments, “expression” refers to the transcription and stable accumulation of sense (mRNA) or functional RNA. “Expression” may also refer to the production of protein.

[043] A “gene” is a defined region that is located within a genome and comprises a coding nucleic acid sequence and typically also comprises other, primarily regulatory, nucleic acids responsible for the control of the expression, that is to say the transcription and translation, of the coding portion. A gene may also comprise other 5' and 3' untranslated sequences and termination sequences. Further elements that may be present are, for example, introns. The regulatory nucleic acid sequence of the gene may not normally be operatively linked to the associated nucleic acid sequence as found in nature and thus would be a chimeric gene.

[044] “Gene of interest” refers to any nucleic acid molecule which, when transferred to an organism, such as a bacteria or a plant, confers upon the bacteria or plant a desired trait such as antibiotic resistance, virus resistance, insect resistance, disease resistance, or resistance to other pests, herbicide tolerance, abiotic stress tolerance, male sterility, modified fatty acid metabolism, modified carbohydrate metabolism, improved nutritional value, improved performance in an industrial process or altered reproductive capability. The “gene of interest” may also be one that is transferred to bacteria or plants for the production of commercially valuable enzymes or metabolites in the plant. [045] A “heterologous” nucleic acid sequence or nucleic acid molecule is a nucleic acid sequence or nucleic acid molecule not naturally associated with a host cell into which it is introduced, including non- naturally occurring multiple copies of a naturally occurring nucleic acid sequence. A heterologous nucleic acid sequence or nucleic acid molecule may comprise a chimeric sequence such as a chimeric expression cassette, where the promoter and the coding region are derived from multiple source organisms. The promoter sequence may be a constitutive promoter sequence, a tissue-specific promoter sequence, a chemically -inducible promoter sequence, a wound-inducible promoter sequence, a stress-inducible promoter sequence, or a developmental stage-specific promoter sequence. [046] A “homologous” nucleic acid sequence is a nucleic acid sequence naturally associated with a host cell into which it is introduced.

[047] “Homologous recombination” is the reciprocal exchange of nucleic acid fragments between homologous nucleic acid molecules.

[048] A “hypothetical protein” as used herein refers to a protein whose existence has been predicted, but for which there is a lack of experimental evidence that it is expressed in vivo. Sequencing genomes or organisms such as bacteria or plants, often results in numerous predicted open reading frames to which functions cannot be readily assigned. These proteins, either orphan or conserved hypothetical proteins, make up about 20% to about 40% of proteins encoded in each newly sequenced genome. Even when there is enough evidence that the product of a gene is expressed, by techniques such as microarray and mass-spectrometry, it is difficult to assign a function to it given its lack of identity to protein sequences with annotated biochemical function. Typically, most protein sequences are inferred from computational analysis of genomic DNA sequence. Hypothetical proteins are typically created by gene prediction software during genome analysis. When bioinformatics tools used for the gene identification find large open reading frames without a characterized homolog in a protein database, such tools typically return the designation “hypothetical protein” as an annotation remark.

[049] The term “motif’ or “consensus sequence” or “signature” refers to a short conserved region in the sequence of evolutionarily related proteins. Motifs are frequently highly conserved parts of domains, but may also include only part of the domain, or be located outside of conserved domain (if all of the amino acids of the motif fall outside of a defined domain).

[050] The term “identity” or “identical” or “substantially identical,” in the context of two nucleic acid or amino acid sequences, refers to two or more sequences or subsequences that have at least 60%, preferably at least 80%, more preferably 90%, even more preferably 95%, and most preferably at least 99% nucleotide or amino acid residue identity, when compared and aligned for maximum correspondence, as measured using one of the following sequence comparison algorithms or by visual inspection. Preferably, the substantial identity exists over a region of the sequences that is at least about 50 residues or bases in length, more preferably over a region of at least about 100 residues or bases, and most preferably the sequences are substantially identical over at least about 150 residues or bases. In an especially preferred embodiment, the sequences are substantially identical over the entire length of the coding regions. Furthermore, substantially identical nucleic acid or amino acid sequences perform substantially the same function.

[051] For sequence comparison, typically one sequence acts as a reference sequence to which test sequences are compared. When using a sequence comparison algorithm, test and reference sequences are input into a computer, subsequence coordinates are designated if necessary, and sequence algorithm program parameters are designated. The sequence comparison algorithm then calculates the percent sequence identity for the test sequence(s) relative to the reference sequence, based on the designated program parameters.

[052] Optimal alignment of sequences for comparison can be conducted, e.g., by the local homology algorithm of Smith & Waterman, Adv. Appl. Math. 2: 482 (1981), by the homology alignment algorithm of Needleman & Wunsch, J. Mol. Biol. 48: 443 (1970), by the search for similarity method of Pearson & Lipman, Proc. Nat'l. Acad Sci. USA 85: 2444 (1988), by computerized implementations of these algorithms (GAP, BESTFIT, FASTA, and TFASTA in the Wisconsin Genetics Software Package, Genetics Computer Group, 575 Science Dr., Madison, Wis.), or by visual inspection (see generally, Ausubel et al., infra).

[053] One example of an algorithm that is suitable for determining percent sequence identity and sequence similarity is the BLAST algorithm, which is described in Altschul et al., J. Mol. Biol. 215: 403-410 (1990). Software for performing BLAST analyses is publicly available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894 USA). This algorithm involves first identifying high scoring sequence pairs (HSPs) by identifying short words of length W in the query sequence, which either match or satisfy some positive-valued threshold score T when aligned with a word of the same length in a database sequence. T is referred to as the neighborhood word score threshold (Altschul et al., 1990). These initial neighborhood word hits act as seeds for initiating searches to find longer HSPs containing them. The word hits are then extended in both directions along each sequence for as far as the cumulative alignment score can be increased. Cumulative scores are calculated using, for nucleotide sequences, the parameters M (reward score for a pair of matching residues; always>0) and N (penalty score for mismatching residues; always<0). For amino acid sequences, a scoring matrix is used to calculate the cumulative score. Extension of the word hits in each direction are halted when the cumulative alignment score falls off by the quantity X from its maximum achieved value, the cumulative score goes to zero or below due to the accumulation of one or more negative-scoring residue alignments, or the end of either sequence is reached. The BLAST algorithm parameters W, T, and X determine the sensitivity and speed of the alignment. The BLASTN program (for nucleotide sequences) uses as defaults a wordlength (W) of 11, an expectation (E) of 10, a cutoff of 100, M=5, N=-4, and a comparison of both strands. For amino acid sequences, the BLASTP program uses as defaults a wordlength (W) of 3, an expectation (E) of 10, and the BLOSUM62 scoring matrix (see Henikoff & Henikoff, Proc. Natl. Acad Sci. USA 89: 10915 (1989)). [054] In addition to calculating percent sequence identity, the BLAST algorithm also performs a statistical analysis of the similarity between two sequences (see, e.g., Karlin & Altschul, Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci. USA 90: 5873-5787 (1993)). One measure of similarity provided by the BLAST algorithm is the smallest sum probability (P(N)), which provides an indication of the probability by which a match between two nucleotide or amino acid sequences would occur by chance. For example, a test nucleic acid sequence is considered similar to a reference sequence if the smallest sum probability in a comparison of the test nucleic acid sequence to the reference nucleic acid sequence is less than about 0.1, more preferably less than about 0.01, and most preferably less than about 0.001.

[055] Another indication that two nucleic acid sequences are substantially identical is that the two molecules hybridize to each other under stringent conditions. The phrase “hybridizing specifically to” refers to the binding, duplexing, or hybridizing of a molecule only to a particular nucleotide sequence under stringent conditions when that sequence is present in a complex mixture (e.g., total cellular) DNA or RNA. “Bind(s) substantially” refers to complementary hybridization between a probe nucleic acid and a target nucleic acid and embraces minor mismatches that can be accommodated by reducing the stringency of the hybridization media to achieve the desired detection of the target nucleic acid sequence.

[056] “Stringent hybridization conditions” and “stringent hybridization wash conditions” in the context of nucleic acid hybridization experiments such as Southern and Northern hybridizations are sequence dependent, and are different under different environmental parameters. Longer sequences hybridize specifically at higher temperatures. An extensive guide to the hybridization of nucleic acids is found in Tijssen (1993) Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology- Hybridization with Nucleic Acid Probes part I chapter 2 “Overview of principles of hybridization and the strategy of nucleic acid probe assays” Elsevier, New York. Generally, highly stringent hybridization and wash conditions are selected to be about 5°C lower than the thermal melting point (T m ) for the specific sequence at a defined ionic strength and pH. Typically, under “stringent conditions” a probe will hybridize to its target subsequence, but not to other sequences.

[057] The T m is the temperature (under defined ionic strength and pH) at which 50% of the target sequence hybridizes to a perfectly matched probe. Very stringent conditions are selected to be equal to the T m for a particular probe. An example of stringent hybridization conditions for hybridization of complementary nucleic acids which have more than 100 complementary residues on a filter in a Southern or northern blot is 50% formamide with 1 mg of heparin at 42°C, with the hybridization being carried out overnight. An example of highly stringent wash conditions is 0.15M NaCl at 72°C for about 15 minutes. An example of stringent wash conditions is a 0.2 SSC wash at 65°C for 15 minutes (see, Sambrook, infra, for a description of SSC buffer). Often, a high stringency wash is preceded by a low stringency wash to remove background probe signal. An example medium stringency wash for a duplex of, e.g., more than 100 nucleotides, is lx SSC at 45°C for 15 minutes.

An example low stringency wash for a duplex of, e.g., more than 100 nucleotides, is 4-6 c SSC at 40°C for 15 minutes. For short probes (e.g., about 10 to 50 nucleotides), stringent conditions typically involve salt concentrations of less than about 1.0 M Na ion, typically about 0.01 to 1.0 M Na ion concentration (or other salts) at pH 7.0 to 8.3, and the temperature is typically at least about 30°C. Stringent conditions can also be achieved with the addition of destabilizing agents such as formamide. In general, a signal to noise ratio of 2 c (or higher) than that observed for an unrelated probe in the particular hybridization assay indicates detection of a specific hybridization. Nucleic acids that do not hybridize to each other under stringent conditions are still substantially identical if the proteins that they encode are substantially identical. This occurs, e.g., when a copy of a nucleic acid is created using the maximum codon degeneracy permitted by the genetic code.

[058] The following are examples of sets of hybridization/wash conditions that may be used to clone homologous nucleotide sequences that are substantially identical to reference nucleotide sequences of the present disclosure: a reference nucleotide sequence preferably hybridizes to the reference nucleotide sequence in 7% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), 0.5 M NaP0 4 , 1 mM EDTA at 50°C with washing in 2x SSC, 0.1% SDS at 50°C, more desirably in 7% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), 0.5 M NaP0 4 , 1 mM EDTA at 50°C with washing in lx SSC, 0.1% SDS at 50°C, more desirably still in 7% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), 0.5 M NaP0 4 , 1 mM EDTA at 50°C with washing in 0.5 x SSC, 0.1% SDS at 50°C, preferably in 7% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), 0.5 MNaP0 4 , 1 mM EDTA at 50°C with washing in 0.1 c SSC, 0.1% SDS at 50°C, more preferably in 7% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), 0.5 M NaP0 4 , 1 mM EDTA at 50°C with washing in 0.1 c SSC, 0.1% SDS at 65°C.

[059] A further indication that two nucleic acid sequences or proteins are substantially identical is that the protein encoded by the first nucleic acid is immunologically cross reactive with, or specifically binds to, the protein encoded by the second nucleic acid. Thus, a protein is typically substantially identical to a second protein, for example, where the two proteins differ only by conservative substitutions.

[060] The term “isolated” nucleic acid molecule, polynucleotide or protein is a nucleic acid molecule, polynucleotide or protein that no longer exists in its natural environment. An isolated nucleic acid molecule, polynucleotide or protein of the disclosure may exist in a purified form or may exist in a recombinant host such as in a transgenic bacteria or a transgenic plant. Therefore, a claim to an “isolated” nucleic acid molecule, as enumerated herein, encompasses a nucleic acid molecule when the nucleic acid molecule is comprised within a transgenic plant genome.

[061] A “nucleic acid molecule” or “nucleic acid sequence” is a segment of single- or double- stranded DNA or RNA that can be isolated from any source. In the context of the disclosure, the nucleic acid molecule is typically a segment of DNA. In some embodiments, the nucleic acid molecules of the disclosure are isolated nucleic acid molecules.

[062] “Operably linked” refers to the association of polynucleotides on a single nucleic acid fragment so that the function of one affects the function of the other. For example, a promoter is operably linked with a coding polynucleotide or functional RNA when it is capable of affecting the expression of that coding polynucleotide or functional RNA (i.e., that the coding polynucleotide or functional RNA is under the transcriptional control of the promoter). Coding polynucleotide in sense or antisense orientation can be operably linked to regulatory polynucleotides.

[063] As used herein “pesticidal,” insecticidal,” and the like, refer to the ability of a RIP of the disclosure to control a pest organism or an amount of a RIP that can control a pest organism as defined herein. Thus, a pesticidal RIP can kill or inhibit the ability of a pest organism (e.g., insect pest) to survive, grow, feed, or reproduce.

[064] The terms “protein,” “peptide” and “polypeptide” may be used interchangeably herein.

[065] A “plant” is any plant at any stage of development, particularly a seed plant. Exemplary plants include, but are not limited to com (Zea mays), canola ( Brassica napus, Brassica rapa ssp.), alfalfa ( Medicago saliva), rice ( Oryza sativa, including without limitation Indica and/or Japonica varieties), rape ( Brassica napus), rye ( Secale cereale), sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor, Sorghum vulgare), sunflower ( Helianthus annus), wheat ( Triticum aestivum), soybean ( Glycine max), tobacco ( Nicotiana tobacum), potato ( Solanum tuberosum), peanut (Arachis hypogaea), cotton ( Gossypium hirsutum), sweet potato ( Ipomoea batatus), cassava ( Manihot esculenta), coffee ( Cofea spp.), coconut ( Cocos nucifera), pineapple ( Ananas comosus), citrus trees ( Citrus spp.), cocoa ( Theobroma cacao), tea ( Camellia sinensis), banana ( Musa spp.), avocado ( Persea americana), fig ( Ficus casica), guava ( Psidium guajava), mango ( Mangifera indica), olive ( Olea europaea), papaya ( Carica papaya), cashew ( Anacardium occidentale), macadamia ( Macadamia integrifolia), almond ( Prunus amygdalus), sugar beets ( Beta vulgaris), apple ( Malus pumila), blackberry ( Rubus ), strawberry ( Fragaria ), walnut ( Juglans regia), grape ( Vitis vinifera), apricot ( Prunus armeniaca), cherry (Prunus), peach (Prunus persica), plum (Prunus domestica), pear (Pyrus communis), watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris), duckweed (Lemna spp.), oats (Avena sativa), barley (Hordium vulgare), vegetables, ornamentals, conifers, and turfgrasses (e.g. , for ornamental, recreational or forage purposes), and biomass grasses (e.g., switchgrass and miscanthus).

[066] Vegetables include without limitation Solanaceous species (e.g., tomatoes; Lycopersicon esculentum), lettuce (e.g., Lactuca sativa), carrots (Caucus carota), cauliflower (Brassica oleracea), celery ( Apium graveolens), eggplant (Solatium melongena), asparagus ( Asparagus officinalis), ochra (Abelmoschus esculentus), green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), lima beans (Phaseolus limensis), peas (Lathyrus spp.), members of the genus Cucurbita such as hubbard squash (C. hubbard), butternut squash (C. moschata), zucchini (C. pepo), crookneck squash (C. crookneck), C. argyrosperma , C. argyrosperma ssp sororia, C. digitata, C. ecuadorensis, C. foetidissima, C. lundelliana, and C. martinezii, and members of the genus Cucumis such as cucumber (Cucumis sativus), cantaloupe (C. cantalupensis), and musk melon (C. melo).

[067] Ornamentals include without limitation azalea (Rhododendron spp.), hydrangea (Macrophylla hydrangea), hibiscus (Hibiscus rosasanensis), roses (Rosa spp.), tulips (Tulipa spp.), daffodils (Narcissus spp.), petunias (Petunia hybrida), carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherima), and chrysanthemum.

[068] Conifers, which may be employed in practicing the present disclosure, include, for example, pines such as loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), slash pine (Pinus elliotii), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), and Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Western hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Sitka spruce (Picea glauca), redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), true firs such as silver fir (Abies amabilis) and balsam fir (Abies balsamea), and cedars such as Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and Alaska yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis).

[069] Turfgrass include but are not limited to zoysiagrasses, bentgrasses, fescue grasses, bluegrasses, St. Augustinegrasses, bermudagrasses, bufallograsses, ryegrasses, and orchardgrasses. [070] Also included are plants that serve primarily as laboratory models, e.g, Arabidopsis.

[071] A “plant cell” is a structural and physiological unit of a plant, comprising a protoplast and a cell wall. The plant cell may be in the form of an isolated single cell or a cultured cell, or as a part of a higher organized unit such as, for example, plant tissue, a plant organ, or a whole plant.

[072] “Plant cell culture” means cultures of plant units such as, for example, protoplasts, cell culture cells, cells in plant tissues, pollen, pollen tubes, ovules, embryo sacs, zygotes and embryos at various stages of development.

[073] “Plant material” refers to leaves, stems, roots, flowers or flower parts, fruits, pollen, egg cells, zygotes, seeds, cuttings, cell or tissue cultures, or any other part or product of a plant.

[074] A “plant organ” is a distinct and visibly structured and differentiated part of a plant such as a root, stem, leaf, flower bud, or embryo.

[075] “Plant tissue” as used herein means a group of plant cells organized into a structural and functional unit. Any tissue of a plant in planta or in culture is included. This term includes, but is not limited to, whole plants, plant organs, plant seeds, tissue culture and any groups of plant cells organized into structural and/or functional units. The use of this term in conjunction with, or in the absence of, any specific type of plant tissue as listed above or otherwise embraced by this definition is not intended to be exclusive of any other type of plant tissue.

[076] A “polynucleotide” refers to a polymer composed of many nucleotide monomers covalently bonded in a chain. Such “polynucleotides” includes DNA, RNA, modified oligo nucleotides (e.g., oligonucleotides comprising bases that are not typical to biological RNA or DNA, such as 2'-0- methylated oligonucleotides), and the like. In some embodiments, a nucleic acid or polynucleotide can be single-stranded, double-stranded, multi-stranded, or combinations thereof. Unless otherwise indicated, a particular nucleic acid or polynucleotide of the present disclosure optionally comprises or encodes complementary polynucleotides, in addition to any polynucleotide explicitly indicated.

[077] “Polynucleotide of interest” refers to any polynucleotide which, when transferred to an organism, e.g., a plant, confers upon the organism a desired characteristic such as insect resistance, disease resistance, herbicide tolerance, antibiotic resistance, improved nutritional value, improved performance in an industrial process, production of commercially valuable enzymes or metabolites or altered reproductive capability.

[078] A “promoter” is an untranslated DNA sequence upstream of the coding region that contains the binding site for RNA polymerase and initiates transcription of the DNA. The promoter region may also include other elements that act as regulators of gene expression.

[079] As used herein, the term “recombinant” refers to a form of nucleic acid (e.g., DNA or RNA) or protein or an organism that would not normally be found in nature and as such was created by human intervention. As used herein, a “recombinant nucleic acid molecule” is a nucleic acid molecule comprising a combination of polynucleotides that would not naturally occur together and is the result of human intervention, e.g., a nucleic acid molecule that is comprised of a combination of at least two polynucleotides heterologous to each other, or a nucleic acid molecule that is artificially synthesized, for example, a polynucleotide synthesize using an assembled nucleotide sequence, and comprises a polynucleotide that deviates from the polynucleotide that would normally exist in nature, or a nucleic acid molecule that comprises a transgene artificially incorporated into a host cell's genomic DNA and the associated flanking DNA of the host cell's genome. Another example of a recombinant nucleic acid molecule is a DNA molecule resulting from the insertion of a transgene into a plant's genomic DNA, which may ultimately result in the expression of a recombinant RNA or protein molecule in that organism. As used herein, a “recombinant plant” is a plant that would not normally exist in nature, is the result of human intervention, and contains a transgene or heterologous nucleic acid molecule incorporated into its genome. As a result of such genomic alteration, the recombinant plant is distinctly different from the related wild-type plant.

[080] “Regulatory elements” refer to sequences involved in controlling the expression of a nucleotide sequence. Regulatory elements comprise a promoter operably linked to the nucleotide sequence of interest and termination signals. They also typically encompass sequences required for proper translation of the nucleotide sequence.

[081] Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Proteins (RIPs) are proteins encoded by genes found at least in the genomes of bacteria in the family Rhizobiaceae that comprise cytotoxin domains and are active against at least insect pests in the Genus Diabrotica. A “variant RIP” is a RIP that has been engineered by making a substitution and/or deletion of at least one amino acid that is found in a naturally occurring RIP and/or an insertion of an amino acid into a RIP sequence. As used herein, when the term “Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Protein” or “RIP” is used alone it is meant to include both naturally occurring proteins as well as engineered variant proteins unless otherwise indicated.

[082] The terms “substitution,” “insertion” or “addition,” and “deletion” are used herein with reference to amino acid or nucleotide sequences. A “substitution” refers to a replacement of one or more nucleotides or amino acids by different nucleotides or amino acids, respectively. An “insertion” or “addition” is that change in a nucleotide or amino acid sequence which has resulted in the addition of one or more nucleotides or amino acid residues, respectively, as compared to the naturally occurring sequence. A “deletion” is defined as a change in either nucleotide or amino acid sequence in which one or more nucleotides or amino acid residues, respectively, are absent. Amino acid substitutions are typically of single residues; insertions usually will be on the order of from about 1 to 20 amino acids, although considerably larger insertions may be tolerated. Deletions range from about 1 to about 20 residues, although in some cases deletions may be much larger. Substitutions, deletions, insertions, or any combination thereof may be used to arrive at a final variant polypeptide. Generally, a few amino acids are changed to minimize the alteration of the molecule. However, larger changes may be tolerated in certain circumstances. In certain embodiments, amino acid substitutions can be the result of replacing one amino acid with another amino acid having similar structural and/or chemical properties, such as the replacement of an isoleucine with a valine, i.e., conservative amino acid replacements. Insertions or deletions may optionally be in the range of 1 to 5 amino acids. In embodiments, substitutions can be made in accordance with known “conservative substitutions.” A “conservative substitution” refers to the substitution of an amino acid in one class by an amino acid in the same class, where a class is defined by common physicochemical amino acid side chain properties and high substitution frequencies in homologous proteins found in nature. In contrast, in certain embodiments, substitutions are non-conservative. A “non-conservative substitution” refers to the substitution of an amino acid in one class with an amino acid from another class.

[083] “Transformation” is a process for introducing heterologous nucleic acid into a host cell or organism. In particular embodiments, “transformation” means the stable integration of a DNA molecule into the genome (nuclear or plastid) of an organism of interest.

[084] “Transformed / transgenic / recombinant” refer to a host organism such as a bacterium or a plant into which a heterologous nucleic acid molecule has been introduced. The nucleic acid molecule can be stably integrated into the genome of the host or the nucleic acid molecule can also be present as an extrachromosomal molecule. Such an extrachromosomal molecule can be auto-replicating. Transformed cells, tissues, or plants are understood to encompass not only the end product of a transformation process, but also transgenic progeny thereof. A “non-transformed”, “non-transgenic”, or “non- recombinant” host refers to a wild-type organism, e.g., a bacterium or plant, which does not contain the heterologous nucleic acid molecule.

[085] This disclosure provides compositions and methods for controlling harmful insect pests. Particularly, the disclosure relates to insecticidal proteins and variants thereof, designated herein as Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Proteins (RIPs), that have activity against at least coleopteran insects, for example, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (western com rootworm; WCR), Diabrotica barberi (northern com rootworm; NCR), and/or Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi (southern corn rootworm; SCR) and/or other Diabrotica species including Diabrotica virgifera zeae (Mexican com rootworm; MCR) and Diabrotica speciose (curcurbit beetle). The inventor of the instant invention found that certain proteins, described in the art as hypothetical proteins, which are purportedly encoded in the genomes of gram negative bacteria in at least the Order Rhizobiales, surprisingly are insecticidal. More particularly, coding sequences for these hypothetical proteins are found in the genomes of bacteria in the family Rhizobiaceae. Rhizobiaceae is a family of proteobacteria comprising multiple subgroups that associate with plants, particularly plant roots. More particularly, coding sequences for the hypothetical proteins that were found to be insecticidal are in genomes of Rhizobiaceae bacteria in Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Rhizobium, and related genera. Even more particularly, the coding sequences for the hypothetical proteins exemplified herein as insecticidal proteins include, without limitation, those sequences in the genomes of a strain of Ensifer aridi (NCBI:txidl708715), a strain of Sinorhizobium sp. GL28 (NCBI:txidl358418), a strain of unclassified Rhizobiales bacterium (NCBI:txidl909294) and a strain Rhizobium sp. SPY-1 (NCBI:txid2547961). Upon synthesis of a nucleic acid molecule that encodes a protein described above and expressing the protein in a transgenic E. coli bacterium, the inventor determined that the proteins described in the art as hypothetical proteins surprisingly have insecticidal activity, particularly against Diabrotica insect pests. Such insecticidal proteins are generally designated herein as Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Proteins (RIPs) and those specially exemplified herein are designated as, RIPlAa (Enf adiCRW; SEQ ID NO:l), RIP2Aa (Sinorhiz_GL28CRW; SEQ ID NO:2), RIP3Aa (Rhizo_bactCRW; SEQ ID NO:3) and RIP4Aa (Rhiz SPCRW; SEQ ID NO:4). The skilled person will recognize that using the teachings of the instant disclosure, the skilled person can identify sequences related to those described above, without limitation, in bacteria, in nucleic acid molecules from environmental samples, and in genome databases, where such sequences may be designated as hypothetical or they may have some other known function, and the like. It is contemplated that such related sequences are encompassed by the instant disclosure. The skilled person, upon reading this disclosure, will understand what is meant by the term “related sequences.” As described in further detail below, RIPs of the disclosure have unique cytotoxin domains that confer activity against at least coleopteran insect pests.

[086] The present disclosure also relates to nucleic acids whose expression results in RIPs of the disclosure, and to the making and using of the RIPs to control insect pests. In certain non-limiting embodiments, the expression of the nucleic acids results in insecticidal proteins that can be used to control at least coleopteran insects such as western corn rootworm, northern corn rootworm and/or southern com rootworm, particularly when expressed in a transgenic plant such as a transgenic com plant.

[087] In some non-limiting embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a nucleic acid molecule comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of a nucleotide sequence that encodes a protein that is toxic to an insect pest, i.e. an insecticidal protein, wherein the nucleotide sequence (a) encodes a protein comprising an amino acid sequence that has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs:l-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; (b) has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; or (c) is a synthetic sequence of (a) or (b) that has codons optimized for expression in a transgenic organism. In other embodiments, the insecticidal protein comprises, consists essentially of or consists of an amino acid sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxic fragment thereof. In other embodiments, the nucleotide sequence comprises, consists essentially of or consists of any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof.

[088] In some non-limiting embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a chimeric gene comprising a heterologous promoter operably linked to a nucleic acid molecule comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of a nucleotide sequence that encodes a protein that is toxic to an insect pest, wherein the nucleotide sequence (a) encodes a protein comprising an amino acid sequence that has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; (b) has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; or (c) is a synthetic sequence of (a) or (b) that has codons optimized for expression in a transgenic organism. In other embodiments, the insecticidal protein comprises an amino acid sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxic fragment thereof. In other embodiments, the nucleotide sequence comprises any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof. In some aspects of these embodiments, the chimeric gene is an expression cassette.

[089] In other non-limiting embodiments, the promoter comprised in a chimeric gene or an expression cassette of the disclosure is a plant expressible promoter. In aspects of these embodiments, the plant expressible promoter is selected from the group of promoters consisting of ubiquitin, oestrum yellow virus, corn TrpA, OsMADS 6, maize H3 histone, bacteriophage T3 gene 95' UTR, corn sucrose synthetase 1, corn alcohol dehydrogenase 1, com light harvesting complex, com heat shock protein, maize mtl, pea small subunit RuBP carboxylase, rice actin, rice cyclophilin, Ti plasmid mannopine synthase, Ti plasmid nopaline synthase, petunia chalcone isomerase, bean glycine rich protein 1, potato patatin, lectin, CaMV 35S and S-E9 small submit RuBP carboxylase promoter.

[090] In some non-limiting embodiments, the insecticidal protein encoded by a nucleic acid molecule of the disclosure or a chimeric gene of the disclosure or an expression cassette of the disclosure is active against a coleopteran insect pest. In some aspects of these embodiments, the coleopteran insect pest is in the Genus Diabrotica. In other aspects, the Diabrotica insect pest is Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (western com rootworm; WCR), Diabrotica barberi (northern corn rootworm; NCR), and/or Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi (southern com rootworm; SCR) and/or other Diabrotica species including Diabrotica virgifera zeae (Mexican com rootworm; MCR). [091] In some non-limiting embodiments, a chimeric gene or expression cassette of the disclosure comprises a nucleotide sequence that encodes a RIP of the disclosure, wherein the nucleotide sequence is codon optimized for expression in a transgenic organism. Is some aspects of these embodiments, the transgenic organism is a bacteria or a plant.

[092] In other non-limiting embodiments, the transgenic bacteria is in the genus Bacillus, Clostridium, Xenorhabdus, Photorhabdus, Pasteuria, Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Erwinia, Serratia, Klebsiella, Salmonella, Pasteurella, Xanthomonas, Streptomyces, Rhizobium, Rhodopseudomonas, Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Methylophilius, Agrobacterium, Acetobacter, Lactobacillus, Arthrobacter, Azotobacter, Leuconostoc, Sphingomonas, Burkholderia, Candidatus Glomeribacter, Dyella, Herbaspirillum, Bradyrhizobium, Staphylococcus, Methylophilus, Variovorax, Streptococcus, Chitinophaga or Alcaligenes. In other embodiments, the transgenic bacteria is Escherichia coli. In other embodiments, the nucleotide sequence comprises, consists essentially of or consists of any of SEQ ID NOs:26-45.

[093] In other non-limiting embodiments, the transgenic plant is a monocot plant or a dicot plant. In still other embodiments, the dicot plant is selected from the group consisting of a soybean, sunflower, tomato, cole crop, cotton, sugar beet and tobacco. In further aspects, the monocot plant is selected from the group consisting of barley, maize, oat, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat. In some aspects, the transgenic plant is a maize plant. In other embodiments, the nucleotide sequence comprises codons optimized for expression in maize. In still other embodiments, the nucleotide sequence comprises, consists essentially of or consists of any of SEQ ID NOs:46-49.

[094] In some non-limiting embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a protein, and optionally an isolated protein, that is toxic to an insect pest, i.e. an insecticidal protein, wherein the protein or isolated protein comprises, consists essentially of or consists of (a) an amino acid sequence that has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; (b) an amino acid sequence that comprises, consists essentially of or consists of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof; (c) an amino acid sequence that is encoded by a nucleotide sequence that has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; (d) an amino acid sequence that is encoded by a nucleotide sequence comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49, or a toxin-encoding fragment thereof; or (e) an amino acid sequence of any of (a)-(d) that comprises a cytotoxin domain selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID NO:50, SEQ ID NO:51, SEQ ID NO:52 and SEQ ID NO:53. Those skilled in the art will recognize that modifications can be made to the exemplified RIPs encompassed by the disclosure. Such modifications and substantially identical nucleic acid or amino acid molecules are encompassed by the present disclosure.

[095] The disclosure also encompasses an engineered Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Protein, which can be described as a mutant RIP or a variant RIP or a modified RIP of the disclosure. In some embodiments, the modification can comprise a substitution and/or deletion of one or more amino acids in a naturally occurring RIP sequence and/or insertion of one or more additional amino acids into a naturally occurring RIP sequence. In other embodiments, the modification can comprise a substitution and/or deletion and/or insertion of one or more amino acids in an engineered RIP. The substitution and/or insertion may be with a naturally occurring amino acid or a non-naturally occurring amino acid. In some non-limiting embodiments, the modification comprises, consists essentially of or consists of an substitution and/or insertion and/or deletion of one or more of alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine and/or valine amino acids at an amino acid position of a RIP amino acid sequence. Such a substitution and/or insertion and/or deletion may be accomplished by changing codons in a nucleotide sequence that encodes a RIP resulting in the modified rip nucleotide sequence encoding the engineered RIP, which is a mutant RIP or a variant RIP or a modified RIP of the disclosure.

[096] In some non-limiting embodiments, the RIP is modified by substitution and/or insertion of (a) one or more amino acids with an aliphatic hydrophobic side chain ( e.g ., alanine, isoleucine, methionine and/or valine; in embodiments, the amino acid is not an alanine); (b) one or more amino acids with an aromatic hydrophobic side chain {e.g., phenylalanine, tryptophan and/or tyrosine); (c) one or more amino acids with a polar neutral side chain {e.g. , asparagine, cysteine, glutamine, serine and/or threonine); (d) one or more amino acids with an acidic side chain {e.g., aspartic acid and/or glutamic acid); one or more amino acids with a basic side chain {e.g., arginine, histidine and/or lysine); (e) one or more glycine residues; (1) one or more proline residues; or (g) any combination of (a) to (1).

[097] In other embodiments, an amino acid is substituted and/or deleted and/or inserted in any of the amino acid sequences of RIPs of the disclosure, particularly any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-4. In other embodiments, amino acids acid are substituted in SEQ ID NO:3. In still other embodiments, the amino acids that are substituted in SEQ ID NO:3 are at positions 50, 52, 56, 62, 64, 81, 126, 153, 169, 185, 207, 219 and/or 275. In other embodiments, the amino acid at position 50 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 52 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 56 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 62 is substituted with a C or L, the amino acid at position 64 is substituted with a C or L, the amino acid at position 81 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 126 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 153 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 169 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 185 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 207 is substituted with a L, the amino acid at position 218 is substituted with a L, or the amino acid at position 275 is substituted with a L.

[098] In additional embodiments, the disclosure provides a chimeric RIP toxin that includes a protein fusion tag which is linked to a full RIP sequence or a portion of a RIP sequence, e.g. a cytotoxin domain. The protein fusion tag can be linked at an N-terminus (e.g., at amino acid 1 or 2 of a RIP sequence) or, alternatively, the protein fusion tag can be linked at a C-terminus of the RIP sequence. The protein fusion tag can be a poly -histidine, poly-arginine, haloalkane dehalogenase, streptavidin-binding, glutathione s-transferase (GST), maltose-binding protein (MBP), thioredoxin, small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO), N-utilization substance A ( usA), protein disulfide isomerase I (DsbA), Mistic, Ketosteroid isomerase (KSI), or TrpE, c-myc, hemaglutinin antigen (HA), FLAG, 1D4, calmodulin-binding peptide, chitin-binding domain, cellulose-binding domain, S-tag, or Softag3 protein fusion tag. These can be used in methods of producing, isolating, or purifying any RIP toxin of the disclosure. The disclosure also provides a recombinant polynucleotide, e.g., a construct, encoding the fusion tag which is linked to the RIP toxin of the disclosure. In some embodiments, a SUMO tag is linked to the N-terminus of a RIP1 Aa toxin to make a SUMO-RIP1 Aa toxin (SEQ ID NO:21), which is encoded by a SUMO-riplAa polynucleotide (SEQ ID NO:45).

[099] In some non-limiting embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a variant RIP comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of an amino acid sequence having at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or has 100% sequence identity to a) SEQ ID NO: 1 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to amino acid positions 1-345 of SEQ ID NO: 1; or b) SEQ ID NO:2 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to amino acid positions 1-344 of SEQ ID NO:2; or c) SEQ ID NO:3 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to amino acid positions 1-351 of SEQ ID NO:3; or d) SEQ ID NO:4 and further comprising at least one mutation at a position that corresponds to amino acid positions 1-347 of SEQ ID NO:4. In other non-limiting embodiments, the mutation is at an amino acid position that corresponds to amino acid position 50, 52, 56, 62, 64, 81, 126, 153, 169, 185, 207, 219 or 275 of SEQ ID NO:3, or any combination thereof. In other non- limiting embodiments, the mutation is at position 50, 52, 56, 62, 64, 81, 126, 153, 169, 185, 207, 219 or 275 of SEQ ID NO:3. In other embodiments, the mutation at position 50 is I50L, the mutation at position 52 is I52L, the mutation at position 56 is I56L, the mutation at position 62 is A62C or A62L, the mutation at position 64 is A64C or A64L, The mutation ta position 81 is 181 L, the mutation at position 126 is I126L, the mutation at position 153 is I153L, the mutation at position 169 is I169L, the mutation at position 185 is I185L, the mutation at position 207 is I207L, the mutation at position 2019 is I219L, or the mutation at position 275 is I275L. In additional other embodiments, the variant RIP comprises, consists essentially of or consists of an amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO:6, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:8, SEQ ID NO:9, SEQ ID NO: 10, SEQ ID NOTl, SEQ ID NO: 12, SEQ ID NO: 13, SEQ ID NO: 14, SEQ ID NO:15, SEQ ID NO: 16, SEQ ID NO: 17, SEQ ID NO: 18, SEQ ID NO: 19 or SEQ ID NO:20.

[0100] In some non-limiting embodiments, the variant RIPs of the disclosure have enhanced digestion by a mammalian digestive protease (e.g., pepsin) as compared with a suitable control and/or the parental molecule not containing a modification of the disclosure when tested under the same conditions (e.g., enzyme concentration, protein concentration, pH, temperature and/or time). Methods for assessing protein digestion by pepsin and other digestive proteases are known in the art. For example, digestion with pepsin can be carried out at approximately 37°C and approximately pH 1.2, optionally with an enzyme concentration of approximately 10 Units (U) pepsin per microgram of protein.

[0101] In some embodiments, the RIPs of the disclosure, including variant RIPs of the disclosure, are active against a coleopteran insect pest. Insects in the order Coleoptera include but are not limited to any coleopteran insect now known or later identified including those in suborders Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga and Polyphaga, and any combination thereof.

[0102] In some non-limiting embodiments, the RIP toxins and variant RIP toxins of the disclosure are active against Diabrotica spp. Diabrotica is a genus of beetles of the order Coleoptera commonly referred to as “com rootworm” or “cucumber beetle.” Exemplary Diabrotica species include without limitation Diabrotica longicornis barberi (northern com rootworm), D. virgifera virgifera (western corn rootworm), D. undecimpunctata howardii (southern corn rootworm), D. balteata (banded cucumber beetle), D. undecimpunctata (western spotted cucumber beetle), D. significata (3-spotted leaf beetle), D. speciosa (chrysanthemum beetle), D. virgifera zeae (Mexican com rootworm), D. beniensis, D. cristata, D. curviplustalata, D. dissimilis, D. elegantula, D. emorsitans, D. graminea, D. hispanloe, D. lemniscata, D. linsleyi, D. milleri, D. nummularis, D. occlusal, D. porrecea, D. scutellata, D. tibialis, D. trifasciata and D. viridula, and any combination thereof.

[0103] Other non-limiting examples of coleopteran insect pests according to the disclosure include Leptinotarsa spp. such as L. decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle); Chrysomela spp. such as C. scripta (cottonwood leaf beetle); Hypothenemus spp. such as H. hampei (coffee berry borer); Sitophilus spp. such as S. zeamais (maize weevil); Epitrix spp. such as E. hirtipennis (tobacco flea beetle) and E. cucumeris (potato flea beetle); Phyllotreta spp. such as P. cruciferae (cmcifer flea beetle) and P. pusilla (western black flea beetle); Anthonomus spp. such as A. eugenii (pepper weevil); Hemicrepidus spp. such as H. memnonius (wireworms); Melanotus spp. such as M. communis (wireworm); Ceutorhychus spp. such as C. assimilis (cabbage seedpod weevil); Phyllotreta spp. such as P. cruciferae (cmcifer flea beetle); Aeolus spp. such as A. mellillus (wireworm); Aeolus spp. such as A. mancus (wheat wireworm); Horistonotus spp. such as H. uhlerii (sand wireworm); Sphenophorus spp. such as S. maidis (maize billbug), S. zeae (timothy billbug), S. parvulus (bluegrass billbug), and S. callosus (southern com billbug); Phyllophaga spp. (White gmbs); Chaetocnema spp. such as C. pulicaria (com flea beetle); Popillia spp. such as P. japonica (Japanese beetle); Epilachna spp. such as E. varivestis (Mexican bean beetle); Cerotoma spp. such as C. trifurcate (Bean leaf beetle); Epicauta spp. such as E. pestifera and E. lemniscata (Blister beetles); and any combination of the foregoing.

[0104] The RIPs of the disclosure may also be active against insects in the order Lepidoptera. Such lepidopteran insects include, without limitation any insect now known or later identified that is classified as a lepidopteran insect, including those insect species within suborders Zeugloptera, Glossata, and Heterobathmiina, and any combination thereof. Exemplary lepidopteran insects include, but are not limited to, Ostrinia spp. such as O. nubilalis (European corn borer); Plutella spp. such as P. xylostella (diamondback moth); Spodoptera spp. such as S. frugiperda (fall armyworm), S. ornithogalli (yellowstriped armyworm), S. praefica (western yellowstriped armyworm), S. eridania (southern armyworm) and S. exigua (beet armyworm); Agrotis spp. such as A. ipsilon (black cutworm), A. segetum (common cutworm), A. gladiaria (claybacked cutworm), and A. orthogonia (pale western cutworm); Striacosta spp. such as S. albicosta (western bean cutworm); Helicoverpa spp. such as H. zea (com earworm), H. punctigera (native budworm), S. littoralis (Egyptian cotton leafworm) and H. armigera (cotton bollworm); Heliothis spp. such as H. virescens (tobacco budworm); Diatraea spp. such as D. grandiosella (southwestern corn borer) and D. saccharalis (sugarcane borer); Trichoplusia spp. such as T. ni (cabbage looper); Sesamia spp. such as S. nonagroides (Mediterranean corn borer); Pectinophora spp. such as P. gossypiella (pink bollworm); Cocky lis spp. such as C. hospes (banded sunflower moth): Mcmduca spp. such asM sexto (tobacco homworm) and M. quinquemaculata (tomato hornworm); Elasmopalpus spp. such as E. lignosellus (lesser cornstalk borer); Pseudoplusia spp. such as P. includens (soybean looper); Anticarsia spp. such as A. gemmatalis (velvetbean caterpillar); Plathypena spp. such as P. scabra (green cloverworm); Pieris spp. such as P. brassicae (cabbage butterfly), Papaipema spp. such as P. nebris (stalk borer); Pseudaletia spp. such as P. unipuncta (common armyworm); Peridroma spp. such as P. saucia (variegated cutworm); Keiferia spp. such as K. lycopersicella (tomato pinworm); Artogeia spp. such as A. rapae (imported cabbageworm); Phthorimaea spp. such as P. operculella (potato tuberworm); Crymodes spp. such as C. devastator (glassy cutworm); Feltia spp. such as F. ducens (dingy cutworm); and any combination of the foregoing.

[0105] The RIPs of the disclosure may also be active against Hemipteran, Dipteran, Lygus spp., and/or other piercing and sucking insects, for example of the order Orthoptera or Thysanoptera. Insects in the order Diptera include but are not limited to any dipteran insect now known or later identified including but not limited to Liriomyza spp. such as /.. trifolii (leafminer) and /.. sativae (vegetable leafminer); Scrobipalpula spp. such as S. absoluta (tomato leafminer); Delia spp. such as D. platura (seedcom maggot), D. brassicae (cabbage maggot) and D. radicum (cabbage root fly); Psilia spp. such as P. rosae (carrot rust fly); Tetanops spp. such as T. myopaeformis (sugarbeet root maggot); and any combination of the foregoing.

[0106] Insects in the order Orthoptera include but are not limited to any orthopteran insect now known or later identified including but not limited to Melanoplus spp. such asM differentialis (Differential grasshopper), M femurrubrum (Redlegged grasshopper), M bivittatus (Twostriped grasshopper); and any combination thereof.

[0107] Insects in the order Thysanoptera include but are not limited to any thysanopteran insect now known or later identified including but not limited to Frankliniella spp. such as F. occidentalis (western flower thrips) and F. fusca (tobacco thrips); and Thrips spp. such as T. tabaci (onion thrips), T. palmi (melon thrips); and any combination of the foregoing.

[0108] The RIPs of the disclosure may also be active against nematodes. The term “nematode” as used herein encompasses any organism that is now known or later identified that is classified in the animal kingdom, phylum Nematoda, including without limitation nematodes within class Adenophorea (including for example, orders Enoplida, Isolaimida, Mononchida, Dorylaimida, Trichocephalida, Mermithida, Muspiceida, Araeolaimida, Chromadorida, Desmoscolecida, Desmodorida and Monhysterida) and/or class Secementea (including, for example, orders Rhabdita, Strongylida, Ascaridida, Spirurida, Camallanida, Diplogasterida, Tylenchida and Aphelenchida). [0109] Nematodes include but are not limited to parasitic nematodes such as root-knot nematodes, cyst nematodes and/or lesion nematodes. Exemplary genera of nematodes according to the present disclosure include but are not limited to, Meloidogyne (root-knot nematodes), Heterodera (cyst nematodes), Globodera (cyst nematodes), Radopholus (burrowing nematodes), Rotylenchulus (reniform nematodes), Pratylenchus (lesion nematodes), Aphelenchoides (foliar nematodes), Helicotylenchus (spiral nematodes), Hoplolaimus (lance nematodes), Paratrichodorus (stubby -root nematodes), Longidorus, Nacobbus (false root-knot nematodes), Subanguina, Belonlaimus (sting nematodes), Criconemella, Criconemoides (ring nematodes), Ditylenchus, Dolichodorus, Hemicriconemoides, Hemicycliophora, Hirschmaniella, Hypsoperine, Macroposthonia, Melinius, Punctodera, Quinisulcius, Scutellonema, Xiphinema (dagger nematodes), Tylenchorhynchus (stunt nematodes), Tylenchulus, Bursaphelenchus (round worms), and any combination thereof.

[0110] Exemplary plant parasitic nematodes according to the present disclosure include, but are not limited to, Belonolaimus gracilis , Belonolaimus longicaudatus, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (pine wood nematode), Criconemoides ornata, Ditylenchus destructor (potato rot nematode), Ditylenchus dipsaci (stem and bulb nematode), Globodera pallida (potato cyst nematode), Globodera rostochiensis (golden nematode), Heterodera glycines (soybean cyst nematode), Heterodera schachtii (sugar beet cyst nematode); Heterodera zeae (com cyst nematode), Heterodera avenae (cereal cyst nematode), Heterodera carotae, Heterodera trifolii , Hoplolaimus columbus, Hoplolaimus galeatus, Hoplolaimus magnistylus, Longidorus breviannulatus, Meloidogyne arenaria, Meloidogyne chitwoodi, Meloidogyne hapla, Meloidogyne incognita, Meloidogyne javanica, Mesocriconema xenoplax, Nacobbus aberrans, Naccobus dorsalis, Paratrichodorus christiei, Paratrichodorus minor , Pratylenchus brachyurus, Pratylenchus crenatus, Pratylenchus hexincisus, Pratylenchus neglectus, Pratylenchus penetrans , Pratylenchus projectus, Pratylenchus scribneri, Pratylenchus tenuicaudatus, Pratylenchus thornei, Pratylenchus zeae , Punctodera chaccoensis, Quinisulcius acutus, Radopholus similis, Rotylenchulus reniformis, Tylenchorhynchus dubius, Tylenchulus semipenetrans (citrus nematode), Siphinema americanum, X. Mediterraneum, and any combination of the foregoing.

[0111] The disclosure also encompasses recombinant vectors and/or recombinant constructs, which may also be referred to as vectors or constructs, comprising the expression cassettes and/or the nucleic acid molecules of disclosure. In such vectors, the nucleic acids are preferably in expression cassettes comprising regulatory elements for expression of the nucleotide molecules in a host cell capable of expressing the nucleotide molecules. Such regulatory elements usually comprise promoter and termination signals and preferably also comprise elements allowing efficient translation of polypeptides encoded by the nucleic acids of the present disclosure. Vectors comprising the nucleic acids are capable of replication in particular host cells, preferably as extrachromosomal molecules, and are therefore used to amplify the nucleic acids of this disclosure in the host cells.

[0112] The disclosure also encompasses a host cell that comprises a recombinant vector, an expression cassette or a nucleic acid molecule of the disclosure. In other embodiments, such vectors are viral vectors and are used for replication of the nucleotide sequences in particular host cells, e.g. insect cells or plant cells. Recombinant vectors are also used for transformation of the nucleic acid molecules of this disclosure into host cells, whereby the nucleic acid molecules are stably integrated into the DNA of a transgenic host. In some embodiments, the host cell is a bacterial cell or a plant cell. In some aspects of these embodiments, the bacterial cell is in the Genus Bacillus, Clostridium, Xenorhabdus, Photorhabdus, Pasteuria, Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Erwinia, Serratia, Klebsiella, Salmonella, Pasteurella, Xanthomonas, Streptomyces, Rhizobium, Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Rhodopseudomonas, Methylophilius, Agrobacterium, Acetobacter, Lactobacillus, Arthrobacter, Azotobacter, Leuconostoc, Sphingomonas, Burkholderia, Candidatus Glomeribacter, Dyella, Herbaspirillum, Bradyrhizobium, Staphylococcus, Methylophilus, Variovorax, Streptococcus, Chitinophaga or Alcaligenes. In other aspects of these embodiments, host cells for such recombinant vectors are endophytes or epiphytes. In some other aspects of these embodiments, the host cell is plant cell, for example a dicot plant cell or monocot plant cell. In other aspects, the dicot plant cell is selected from the group consisting of a soybean cell, sunflower cell, tomato cell, cole crop cell, cotton cell, sugar beet cell and tobacco cell. In still other aspects, the monocot plant cell is selected from the group consisting of a barley cell, maize cell, oat cell, rice cell, sorghum cell, sugar cane cell and wheat cell.

[0113] In some non-limiting embodiments of the disclosure, at least one of the nucleic acid molecules of the disclosure is inserted into an appropriate expression cassette, comprising a promoter and termination signal. Expression of the nucleic acid may be constitutive, or an inducible promoter responding to various types of stimuli to initiate transcription may be used. In another embodiment, the cell in which the insecticidal protein of the disclosure is expressed is a microorganism, such as a virus, bacteria, or a fungus. In yet another embodiment, a virus, such as a baculovirus, contains a nucleic acid of the disclosure in its genome and expresses large amounts of the corresponding insecticidal protein after infection of appropriate eukaryotic cells that are suitable for virus replication and expression of the nucleic acid. The insecticidal protein thus produced is used as an insecticidal agent. Alternatively, baculoviruses engineered to include the nucleic acid are used to infect insects in vivo and kill them either by expression of the insecticidal toxin or by a combination of viral infection and expression of the insecticidal toxin. In a further embodiment, the present disclosure also encompasses a method for producing a polypeptide with insecticidal activity, comprising culturing the host cell under conditions in which the nucleic acid molecule encoding the polypeptide is expressed. [0114] Bacterial cells are also hosts for the expression of the nucleic acids of the disclosure. In one embodiment, non-pathogenic symbiotic bacteria, which are able to live and replicate within plant tissues, so-called endophytes, or non- pathogenic symbiotic bacteria, which are capable of colonizing the phyllosphere or the rhizosphere, so-called epiphytes, are used. Such bacteria include bacteria of the genera Agrobacterium, Alcaligenes, Azospirillum, Azotobacter, Bacillus, Clavibacter, Enterobacter, Erwinia, Flavobacter, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Serratia, Streptomyces, Sphingomonas, Burkholderia, Candidatus Glomeribacter, Dyella, Herbaspirillum, Bradyrhizobium, Staphylococcus, Methylophilus, Variovorax, Streptococcus, Chitinophaga and Xanthomonas. Symbiotic fungi, such as Trichoderma and Gliocladium are also possible hosts for expression of the inventive nucleic acids for the same purpose.

[0115] Techniques for these genetic manipulations are specific for the different available hosts and are known in the art. For example, the expression vectors pKK223-3 and pKK223-2 can be used to express heterologous genes in E. coli, either in transcriptional or translational fusion, behind the tac or trc promoter. For the expression of operons encoding multiple ORFs, the simplest procedure is to insert the operon into a vector such as pKK223- 3 in transcriptional fusion, allowing the cognate ribosome binding site of the heterologous genes to be used. Techniques for overexpression in gram positive species such as Bacillus are also known in the art and can be used in the context of this disclosure (Quax et al. InTndustrial Microorganisms: Basic and Applied Molecular Genetics, Eds. Baltz et al., American Society for Microbiology, Washington (1993)). Alternate systems for overexpression rely for example, on yeast vectors and include the use of Pichia, Saccharomyces and Kluyveromyces (Sreekrishna, InTndustrial microorganisms :basic and applied molecular genetics, Baltz, Hegeman, and Skatrud eds., American Society for Microbiology, Washington (1993); Dequin & Barre, Biotechnology L2T73- 177 (1994); van den Berg et al., Biotechnology 8:135-139 (1990)). [0116] In yet other embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of controlling insect pests, comprising delivering to the insect pests an effective insect-controlling amount of an insecticidal protein of the disclosure. In some aspects of these embodiments, the insecticidal protein is delivered through a transgenic plant or by topical application of an insecticidal composition comprising the insecticidal protein. In other aspects, the transgenic plant or the insecticidal composition comprises a second insecticidal agent different from the RIP of the disclosure. In still other aspects, the second insecticidal agent is a protein, a dsRNA or a chemical. In still other aspects, the protein is selected from the group consisting of a Cry protein, a VIP toxin, a patatin, a protease, a protease inhibitor, a urease, an alpha-amylase inhibitor, a pore-forming protein, a lectin, an engineered antibody or antibody fragment, or a chitinase; or the chemical is a carbamate, a pyrethroid, an organophosphate, a friprole, a neonicotinoid, an organochloride, a nereistoxin, or a combination thereof; or the chemical comprises an active ingredient selected from the group consisting of carbofuran, carbaryl, methomyl, bifenthrin, tefluthrin, permethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos, chlorethoxyfos, dimethoate, ethoprophos, malathion, methyl-parathion, phorate, terbufos, tebupirimiphos, fipronil, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, endosulfan, bensultap, and a combination thereof.

[0117] In some embodiments of the disclosure, at least one of the RIP toxins of the disclosure is expressed in a higher organism such as a plant. Transgenic plants expressing effective insect controlling amounts of the insecticidal protein protect themselves from insect pest damage. When the insect pest starts feeding on such a transgenic plant, it also ingests the expressed insecticidal protein. This may deter the insect from further biting into the plant tissue and/or may even harm or kill the insect. A nucleic acid molecule of the present disclosure is inserted into an expression cassette, which may then be stably integrated in the genome of the plant. In other embodiments, the nucleic acid molecule is included in a non- pathogenic self- replicating virus. Plants transformed in accordance with the present disclosure may be monocotyledonous or dicotyledonous and include, but are not limited to, com, wheat, oat, turfgrass, pasture grass, flax, barley, rye, sweet potato, bean, pea, chicory, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, radish, spinach, asparagus, onion, garlic, pepper, celery, squash, pumpkin, hemp, zucchini, apple, pear, quince, melon, plum, cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, strawberry, grape, raspberry, blackberry, pineapple, avocado, papaya, mango, banana, soybean, tomato, sorghum, sugarcane, sugar beet, sunflower, rapeseed, clover, tobacco, carrot, cotton, alfalfa, rice, potato, eggplant, cucumber, Arabidopsis, and woody plants such as coniferous and deciduous trees.

[0118] In some embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of producing a protein that is toxic to insect pests, i.e. an insecticidal protein, comprising: (a) obtaining a host cell comprising a gene, which itself comprises an expression cassette and/or a nucleic acid molecule of the disclosure; and (b) growing the transgenic host cell or a transgenic host comprising the host cell under conditions in which the host cell produces the protein that is toxic to insect pests.

[0119] In other embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of producing a transgenic plant or plant part having enhanced insect resistance compared to a control plant or plant part, comprising: (a) introducing into a plant or plant part a chimeric gene or expression cassette or vector comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding an insecticidal protein of the disclosure, wherein the insecticidal protein is expressed in the plant or plant part, thereby producing a plant or plant part with enhanced insect-resistance. In other embodiments, the chimeric gene, expression cassette or vector may encode a RIP toxin of the disclosure comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of an amino acid sequence that is at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least consisting 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or is 100% identical or similar to any of SEQ ID NOs:l-21. “Enhanced” insect resistance may be measured as any toxic effect the transgenic plant has on the insect pest that feeds on the transgenic plant.

Enhanced insect resistance may be greater than 0%, at least 1%, at least 2%, at least 3%, at least 4%, at least 5%, at least 10%, at least 15%, at least 20%, at least 25%, at least 30%, at least 40%, at least 50%, at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80%, at least 90%, at least 100%, at least 125%, at least 150%, at least 200%, at least 300%, at least 400%, at least 500%, at least 600%, at least 700%, at least 800%, at least 900%, or at least 1000% greater insecticidal activity compared to a control plant that does not express the insecticidal protein. A plant or plant part having enhance insect resistance as compared to a control plant or plant part may be produced by methods of plant transformation, plant tissue culture, or breeding. The plant or plant part may be produced by methods of sexual or asexual propagation. Any suitable control plant or plant part can be used, for example a plant of the same or similar genetic background grown in the same environment. In embodiments, the control plant or plant part is of the same genetic background and is growing in the same environment as the described plant, but it does not comprise a molecule of the disclosure, while the described plant does comprise a nucleic acid molecule of the disclosure.

[0120] In other embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of enhancing insect resistance in a plant or plant part as compared to a control plant or plant part, comprising expressing in the plant or plant part a nucleic acid molecule or an expression cassette of the disclosure, wherein expression of the heterologous nucleic acid of the expression cassette results in enhanced insect resistance in a plant or plant part as compared to a control plant or plant part. In some embodiments, the expression cassette or nucleic acid molecule comprises a promoter operably linked to a heterologous nucleic acid molecule comprising a nucleotide sequence that comprises, consists essentially of or consists of (a) a nucleotide sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs:22-49; (b) a nucleotide sequence that is at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or is 100% identical to the nucleotide sequence of any one of SEQ ID NOs:22-49; (c) a nucleotide sequence that encodes a protein, wherein the amino acid sequence of the protein comprises, consists essentially of or consists of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21 ; (d) a nucleotide sequence that encodes a protein, wherein the amino acid sequence of the protein is at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or is 100% identical to the amino acid sequence of any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21; (e) a nucleotide sequence of any of (a) to (d) above, that is codon optimized for expression in a transgenic host organism; or (f) a nucleotide sequence that is complementary to the nucleotide sequence of any one of (a) to (e) above. The nucleic acid molecule or expression cassette may be introduced into the plant. In some embodiments, the nucleic acid molecule or expression cassette may be introduced into a plant part and a plant comprising the nucleic acid molecule or expression cassette may be produced from the plant part.

[0121] In some embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of producing a plant having enhanced insect resistance as compared to a control plant, comprising detecting, in a plant part, a heterologous nucleic acid comprising a nucleic acid molecule or an expression cassette of the disclosure and producing a plant from the plant part, thereby producing a plant having enhanced insect resistance as compared to a control plant. In a further embodiment, the disclosure encompasses a method of identifying a plant or plant part having enhanced insect resistance as compared to a control plant or plant part, comprising detecting, in the plant or plant part, a nucleic acid molecule or an expression cassette of the disclosure, thereby identifying a plant or plant part having enhanced insect resistance. In a further embodiment, the expression cassette or a diagnostic fragment thereof is detected in an amplification product from a nucleic acid sample from the plant or plant part. The diagnostic fragment may be a nucleic acid molecule at least 10 contiguous nucleotides long which is unique to the expression cassette of the disclosure.

[0122] In other embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of producing a plant having enhanced insect resistance as compared to a control plant or plant part, comprising crossing a first parent plant with a second parent plant, wherein at least the first parent plant comprises within its genome a heterologous nucleic acid that comprises a nucleic acid molecule or an expression cassette of the disclosure and producing a progeny generation, wherein the progeny generation comprises at least one plant that possesses the heterologous nucleic acid within its genome and that exhibits enhanced insect resistance as compared to a control plant.

[0123] In some aspects of the above described embodiments, the methods of the disclosure confer enhanced insect resistance in a plant or plant part against a coleopteran insect pest. Insect control of coleopteran insect pests are demonstrated in the Examples. In further aspects, the methods of the disclosure confer enhanced insect resistance in a plant or plant part against Diabrotica species, including Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Diabrotica barberi, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi, Diabrotica virgifera zeae, and/or Diabrotica speciosa, and/or related species. In further embodiments, the methods of the disclosure confer enhanced insect resistance in a plant or plant part against Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Diabrotica barberi, and/or Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi.

[0124] In some embodiments, disclosure encompasses a transgenic plant comprising a heterologous nucleic acid molecule or an expression cassette of the disclosure, which when transcribed and translated confers enhanced insect resistance to the transgenic plant. In some aspects of these embodiments, the heterologous nucleic acid molecule or expression cassette comprises a nucleotide sequence that has at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 91% at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98% at least 99%, or 100% identical to any of SEQ ID NOs:21-49. In other embodiments, the transgenic plant is a dicotyledonous plant or a monocotyledonous plant. In further aspects, the transgenic plant is alfalfa, apple, apricot, artichoke, arugula, asparagus, avocado, banana, beans, beet, blackberry, blueberry, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, canola, cantaloupe, carrot, cassava, cauliflower, celery, cherry, cilantro, citrus, clementine, coffee, corn, cotton, cucumber, Douglas fir, eggplant, endive, escarole, eucalyptus, fennel, figs, gourd, grape, grapefruit, honey dew, jicama, kiwifruit, lettuce, leeks, lemon, lime, Loblolly pine, mango, melon, mushroom, nut, okra, onion, orange, an ornamental plant, papaya, parsley, pea, peach, peanut, pear, pepper, persimmon, pine, pineapple, plantain, plum, pomegranate, poplar, potato, pumpkin, quince, radiata pine, radicchio, radish, raspberry, rice, rye, sorghum, Southern pine, soybean, spinach, squash, strawberry, sugarbeet, sunflower, sweet potato, sweetgum, tangerine, tea, tobacco, tomato, turf, a vine, watermelon, yams, or zucchini. In still other aspects, the transgenic plant is millet, switchgrass, maize, sorghum, wheat, oat, turf grass, pasture grass, flax, rice, sugarcane, oilseed rape, or barley. In other embodiments, the transgenic plant is a transgenic maize (corn) plant comprising a rip coding sequence with codons optimized for expression in maize, for example any of SEQ ID NOs:46-49.

[0125] In some embodiments, the disclosure encompasses nucleic acid molecules encoding insecticidal proteins of the disclosure that are modified and optimized for expression in transgenic plants. Although in many cases genes from microbial organisms can be expressed in plants at high levels without modification, low expression in transgenic plants may result from microbial nucleic acids having codons that are not preferred in plants. It is known in the art that all organisms have specific preferences for codon usage, and the codons of the nucleic acids described in this disclosure can be changed to conform with plant preferences, while maintaining the amino acids encoded thereby, or making certain amino acid changes to the encoded insecticidal protein. Furthermore, high expression in plants is best achieved from coding sequences that have at least about 35% GC content, preferably more than about 45%, more preferably more than about 50%, and most preferably more than about 60%. Microbial nucleic acids that have low GC contents may express poorly in plants due to the existence of ATTTA motifs that may destabilize messages, and AATAAA motifs that may cause inappropriate polyadenylation. In embodiments, sequences can be modified to account for the specific codon preferences and GC content preferences of monocotyledons or dicotyledons as these preferences have been shown to differ (Murray et al. Nucl. Acids Res. 17:477-498 (1989)). In addition, the nucleic acids are screened for the existence of illegitimate splice sites that may cause message truncation. All changes required to be made within the nucleic acids such as those described above can be made using well known techniques of site directed mutagenesis, PCR, and synthetic gene construction, for example, using the methods described in the published patent applications EP 0 385 962, EP 0359472, and WO 93/07278.

[0126] In some embodiments of the disclosure a coding sequence for an insecticidal protein of the disclosure is made according to the procedure disclosed in U.S. Patent 5,625,136, herein incorporated by reference. In this procedure, maize preferred codons, i.e., the single codon that most frequently encodes that amino acid in maize, are used. The maize preferred codon for a particular amino acid might be derived, for example, from known gene sequences from maize. Maize codon usage for 28 genes from maize plants is found in Murray et al., Nucleic Acids Research 17:477-498 (1989), the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. In this manner, the nucleotide sequences can be optimized for expression in any plant. It is recognized that all or any part of the gene sequence may be optimized or synthetic. That is, synthetic or partially optimized sequences may also be used.

[0127] For more efficient initiation of translation, sequences adjacent to the initiating methionine may be modified. For example, they can be modified by the inclusion of sequences known to be effective in plants. Joshi has suggested an appropriate consensus for plants (NAR 15:6643-6653 (1987)) and Clontech suggests a further consensus translation initiator (1993/1994 catalog, page 210). These consensus sequences are suitable for use with the nucleic acids of this disclosure. In embodiments, the sequences are incorporated into constructions comprising the nucleic acids, up to and including the ATG (whilst leaving the second amino acid unmodified), or alternatively up to and including the GTC subsequent to the ATG (with the possibility of modifying the second amino acid of the transgene).

[0128] Expression of the nucleic acids in transgenic plants is driven by promoters that function in plants. The choice of promoter will vary depending on the temporal and spatial requirements for expression, and also depending on the target species. Thus, expression of the nucleic acids of this disclosure in leaves, in stalks or stems, in ears, in inflorescences (e.g. spikes, panicles, cobs, etc.), in roots, and/or seedlings is preferred. In many cases, however, protection against more than one type of insect pest is sought, and thus expression in multiple tissues is desirable. Although many promoters from dicotyledons have been shown to be operational in monocotyledons and vice versa, ideally dicotyledonous promoters are selected for expression in dicotyledons, and monocotyledonous promoters for expression in monocotyledons. However, there is no restriction to the provenance of selected promoters; it is sufficient that they are operational in driving the expression of the nucleic acids in the desired cell.

[0129] In some embodiments, promoters are used that are expressed constitutively including the actin or ubiquitin or cmp promoters or the CaMV35S and 19S promoters. The nucleic acids of this disclosure can also be expressed under the regulation of promoters that are chemically regulated. Preferred technology for chemical induction of gene expression is detailed in the published application EP 0332 104 (to Ciba-Geigy) and U.S. Patent 5,614,395. A preferred promoter for chemical induction is the tobacco PR- la promoter.

[0130] In other embodiments, a category of promoters which is wound inducible can be used. Numerous promoters have been described which are expressed at wound sites and also at the sites of phytopathogen infection. Ideally, such a promoter should only be active locally at the sites of infection, and in this way the insecticidal proteins of the disclosure only accumulate in cells that need to synthesize the proteins to kill the invading insect pest. Preferred promoters of this kind include those described by Stanford et al. Mol. Gen. Genet. 215:200-208 (1989), Xu et al. Plant Molec. Biol. 22:573-588 (1993), Logemann et al. Plant Cell 1:151-158 (1989), Rohrmeier & Lehle, Plant Molec. Biol. 22:783-792 (1993), Firek et al. Plant Molec. Biol. 22: 129-142 (1993), and Warner et al. Plant J. 3:191-201 (1993).

[0131] Tissue-specific or tissue-preferential promoters useful for the expression of genes encoding insecticidal proteins of the disclosure in plants, particularly corn, are those which direct expression in root, pith, leaf or pollen, particularly root. Such promoters, e.g. those isolated from PEPC or trpA, are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,625,136, or MTL, disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,466,785. Both U. S. patents are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

[0132] In addition, promoters functional in plastids can be used. Non-limiting examples of such promoters include the bacteriophage T3 gene 95' UTR and other promoters disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 7,579,516. Other promoters useful with the disclosure include but are not limited to the S-E9 small subunit RuBP carboxylase promoter and the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor gene promoter (Kti3). [0133] In some embodiments of the disclosure, inducible promoters can be used. Thus, for example, chemical-regulated promoters can be used to modulate the expression of nucleotide sequences of the disclosure in a plant through the application of an exogenous chemical regulator. Regulation of the expression of nucleotide sequences of the disclosure via promoters that are chemically regulated enables the polypeptides of the disclosure to be synthesized only when the crop plants are treated with the inducing chemicals. Depending upon the objective, the promoter may be a chemical-inducible promoter, where application of a chemical induces expression of a nucleotide sequence of the disclosure, or a chemical-repressible promoter, where application of the chemical represses expression of a nucleotide sequence of the disclosure.

[0134] Chemical inducible promoters are known in the art and include, but are not limited to, the maize In2-2 promoter, which is activated by benzenesulfonamide herbicide safeners, the maize GST promoter, which is activated by hydrophobic electrophilic compounds that are used as pre-emergent herbicides, and the tobacco PR-1 a promoter, which is activated by salicylic acid (e.g., the PRla system), steroid steroid-responsive promoters (see, e.g., the glucocorticoid-inducible promoter in Schena et al. (1991) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 10421-10425 and McNellis et al. (1998) Plant J. 14, 247-257) and tetracycline-inducible and tetracycline-repressible promoters (see, e.g., Gatz et al. (1991) Mol. Gen. Genet. 227, 229-237, and U.S. Patent Numbers 5,814,618 and 5,789,156, Lac repressor system promoters, copper-inducible system promoters, salicylate-inducible system promoters (e.g., the PRla system), glucocorticoid-inducible promoters (Aoyama et al. (1997) Plant J. 11:605-612), and ecdysone-inducible system promoters.

[0135] Other non-limiting examples of inducible promoters include ABA- and turgor-inducible promoters, the auxin-binding protein gene promoter (Schwob et al. (1993) Plant J. 4:423-432), the UDP glucose flavonoid glycosyl-transferase promoter (Ralston et al. (1988) Genetics 119:185-197), the MPI proteinase inhibitor promoter (Cordero et al. (1994) Plant J. 6:141-150), and the glyceraldehyde-3 -phosphate dehydrogenase promoter (Kohler et al. (1995) Plant Mol. Biol. 29:1293- 1298; Martinez et al. (1989) J. Mol. Biol. 208:551-565; and Quigley et al. (1989) J. Mol. Evol. 29:412-421). Also included are the benzene sulphonamide-inducible (US Patent No. 5,364,780) and alcohol-inducible (Int'l Patent Application Publication Nos. WO 97/06269 and WO 97/06268) systems and glutathione S-transferase promoters. Likewise, one can use any of the inducible promoters described in Gatz (1996) Current Opinion Biotechnol. 7:168-172 and Gatz (1997) Amur. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol. 48:89-108. Other chemically inducible promoters useful for directing the expression of the nucleotide sequences of this disclosure in plants are disclosed in US Patent 5,614,395 herein incorporated by reference in its entirety. Chemical induction of gene expression is also detailed in the published application EP 0332 104 (to Ciba- Geigy) and U.S. Patent 5,614,395. In some embodiments, a promoter for chemical induction can be the tobacco PR-la promoter.

[0136] In further embodiments, the nucleotide sequences of the disclosure can be operably associated with a promoter that is wound inducible or inducible by pest or pathogen infection (e.g., an insect or nematode plant pest). Numerous promoters have been described which are expressed at wound sites and/or at the sites of pest attack (e.g., insect/nematode feeding) or phytopathogen infection. Ideally, such a promoter should be active only locally at or adjacent to the sites of attack, and in this way expression of the nucleotide sequences of the disclosure will be focused in the cells that are being invaded or fed upon. Such promoters include, but are not limited to, those described by Stanford et al., Mol. Gen. Genet. 215:200-208 (1989), Xu et al. Plant Molec. Biol. 22:573-588 (1993), Logemann et al. Plant Cell 1:151-158 (1989), Rohrmeier and Lehle, Plant Molec. Biol. 22:783-792 (1993), Firek et al. Plant Molec. Biol. 22:129-142 (1993), Warner et al. Plant J. 3:191-201 (1993), U.S. Patent No. 5,750,386, U.S. Patent No. 5,955, 646, U.S. Patent No. 6,262,344, U.S. Patent No. 6,395,963, U.S. Patent No. 6,703,541, U.S. Patent No. 7,078,589, U.S. Patent No. 7,196,247, U.S. Patent No. 7,223,901, and U.S. Patent Application Publication 2010043102.

[0137] In some embodiments of the disclosure, a “minimal promoter” or “basal promoter” is used. A minimal promoter is capable of recruiting and binding RNA polymerase II complex and its accessory proteins to permit transcriptional initiation and elongation. In some embodiments, a minimal promoter is constructed to comprise only the nucleotides/nucleotide sequences from a selected promoter that are required for binding of the transcription factors and transcription of a nucleotide sequence of interest that is operably associated with the minimal promoter including but not limited to TATA box sequences. In other embodiments, the minimal promoter lacks cis sequences that recruit and bind transcription factors that modulate (e.g., enhance, repress, confer tissue specificity, confer inducibility or repressibility) transcription. A minimal promoter is generally placed upstream (i.e., 5’) of a nucleotide sequence to be expressed. Thus, nucleotides/nucleotide sequences from any promoter useable with the present disclosure can be selected for use as a minimal promoter. [0138] Numerous other sequences can be incorporated into expression cassettes described in this disclosure. These include sequences that have been shown to enhance expression such as intron sequences (e.g. from Adhl and bronzel) and viral leader sequences (e.g. from TMV, MCMV and AMV).

[0139] It may be preferable to target expression of the nucleic acids of the present disclosure to different cellular localizations in the plant. In some cases, localization in the cytosol may be desirable, whereas in other cases, localization in some subcellular organelle may be preferred. Subcellular localization of transgene-encoded enzymes is undertaken using techniques well known in the art. Typically, the DNA encoding the target peptide from a known organelle-targeted gene product is manipulated and fused upstream of the nucleic acid. Many such target sequences are known for the chloroplast and their functioning in heterologous constructions has been shown. The expression of the nucleic acids of the present disclosure is also targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum or to the vacuoles of the host cells. Techniques to achieve this are well known in the art.

[0140] Vectors suitable for plant transformation are described elsewhere in this specification. For Agrobacterium -mediated transformation, binary vectors or vectors carrying at least one T-DNA border sequence are suitable, whereas for direct gene transfer any vector is suitable and linear DNA containing only the construction of interest may be preferred. In the case of direct gene transfer, transformation with a single DNA species or co-transformation can be used (Schocher et al. Biotechnology 4:1093- 1096 (1986)). For both direct gene transfer and Agrobacterium-mediated transfer, transformation is usually (but not necessarily) undertaken with a selectable marker that may provide resistance to an antibiotic (kanamycin, hygromycin or methotrexate) or a herbicide (basta). Plant transformation vectors comprising the nucleic acid molecules of the present disclosure may also comprise genes (e.g. phosphomannose isomerase; PMI) which provide for positive selection of the transgenic plants as disclosed in U.S. Patents 5,767,378 and 5,994,629, herein incorporated by reference. The choice of selectable marker is not, however, critical to the disclosure.

[0141] In some embodiments, the nucleic acid can be transformed into the nuclear genome. In another embodiment, a nucleic acid of the present disclosure is directly transformed into the plastid genome. A major advantage of plastid transformation is that plastids are generally capable of expressing bacterial genes without substantial codon optimization, and plastids are capable of expressing multiple open reading frames under control of a single promoter. Plastid transformation technology is extensively described in U.S. Patent Nos. 5,451,513, 5,545,817, and 5,545,818, in PCT application no. WO 95/16783, and in McBride et al. (1994) Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 7301- 7305. The basic technique for chloroplast transformation involves introducing regions of cloned plastid DNA flanking a selectable marker together with the gene of interest into a suitable target tissue, e.g., using biolistics or protoplast transformation (e.g., calcium chloride or PEG mediated transformation). The 1 to 1.5 kb flanking regions, termed targeting sequences, facilitate homologous recombination with the plastid genome and thus allow the replacement or modification of specific regions of the plastome. Initially, point mutations in the chloroplast 16S rRNA and rpsl2 genes conferring resistance to spectinomycin and/or streptomycin are utilized as selectable markers for transformation (Svab, Z., Hajdukiewicz, P., and Maliga, P. (1990) Proc. Nati. Acad. Sci. USA 87, 8526-8530; Staub, J. M., and Maliga, P. (1992) Plant Cell 4, 39-45). This resulted in stable homoplasmic transformants at a frequency of approximately one per 100 bombardments of target leaves. The presence of cloning sites between these markers allowed creation of a plastid targeting vector for introduction of foreign genes (Staub, J.M., and Maliga, P. (1993) EMBO J. 12, 601-606). Substantial increases in transformation frequency are obtained by replacement of the recessive rRNA or r-protein antibiotic resistance genes with a dominant selectable marker, the bacterial aadA gene encoding the spectinomycin-cletoxifying enzyme aminoglycoside- 3'- adenyltransferase (Svab, Z., and Maliga, P. (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90, 913-917). Previously, this marker had been used successfully for high-frequency transformation of the plastid genome of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (Goldschmidt- Clermont, M. (1991) Nucl. Acids Res. 19:4083-4089). Other selectable markers useful for plastid transformation are known in the art and encompassed within the scope of the disclosure. Typically, approximately 15-20 cell division cycles following transformation are required to reach a homoplastidic state. Plastid expression, in which genes are inserted by homologous recombination into all of the several thousand copies of the circular plastid genome present in each plant cell, takes advantage of the enormous copy number advantage over nuclear- expressed genes to permit expression levels that can readily exceed 10% of the total soluble plant protein. In a preferred embodiment, a nucleic acid of the present disclosure is inserted into a plastid-targeting vector and transformed into the plastid genome of a desired plant host. Plants homoplastic for plastid genomes containing a nucleic acid of the present disclosure are obtained, and are preferentially capable of high expression of the nucleic acid.

[0142] In yet other embodiments, a transgenic plant of the disclosure may comprise a heterologous nucleic acid molecule which encodes for at least one additional desired trait. The additional trait may be encoded on the same heterologous nucleic acid molecule as a nucleic acid molecule of the disclosure, or it may be encoded on a second heterologous nucleic acid molecule. The additional desired trait may confer insect resistance to a second insect pest, insect resistance to the same insect pest, abiotic stress tolerance, male sterility, herbicide resistance, bacterial disease resistance, fungal disease resistance, viral disease resistance, nematode resistance, modified fatty acid metabolism, modified carbohydrate metabolism, improved nutritional value, improved performance in an industrial process or altered reproductive capability. The additional desired trait may also induce production within the plant of a commercially valuable enzyme or metabolite.

[0143] In some embodiments, the desired additional trait is a second pesticidal agent. The second pesticidal agent may be active on any plant pest, including insects, nematodes, fungi, viruses or bacteria. Examples of insect plant pests include and are not limited to Nilaparvata spp. (e.g. N lugens (brown planthopper)); Laodelphax spp. (e.g. L. striatellus /small brown planthopper)); Nephotettix spp. (e.g. N. virescens or N. cincticeps (green leafhopper), or N.nigropictus (rice leafhopper)); Sogatella spp. (e.g. S.furcifera (white-backed planthopper)); Blissus spp. (e.g. B. leucopte us (chinch bug)); Scotinophora spp. (e.g. S. vermidulate (rice blackbug)); Acrosternum spp. (e.g. A. hilare (green stink bug)); Parnara spp. (e.g. P. guttata (rice skipper)); Child spp. (e.g. C. suppressalis (rice striped stem borer), C. auricilius (gold-fringed stem borer), or C. polychrysus (darkheaded stem borer)); Chilotraea spp. (e.g. C. polychrysa (rice stalk borer)); Sesamia spp. (e.g. S. inferens (pink rice borer)); Tryporyza spp. (e.g. T. innotata (white rice borer), or T. incertulas (yellow rice borer)); Cnaphalocrocis spp. (e.g. C. medinalis (rice leafroller)); A gromyza spp. (e.g. A. oryzae (leafminer), or A. parvicornis (corn blot leafminer)); Diatraea spp. (e.g. D. saccharalis (sugarcane borer), or D. grandiosella (southwestern corn borer)); Narnaga spp. (e.g. N. aenescens (green rice caterpillar)): Xanlhodes spp. (e.g. transversa (green caterpillar)); Spodoptera spp. (e.g. S. frugiperda (fall armyworm), S. exigua (beet armyworm), S. littoralis (climbing cutworm) or S. praefica (western yellowstriped armyworm)); Mythimna spp. (e.g. Mythmna (Pseudaletia) seperata (armyworm)); Helicoverpa spp. (e.g. H. zea (com earworm)); Colaspis spp. (e.g. C. brunnea (grape colaspis)); Lissorhoptrus spp. (e.g. L. oryzophilus (rice water weevil)); Echinocnemus spp. (e.g. E. squamos (rice plant weevil)); Diclodispa spp. (e.g. D. armigera (rice hispa)); Oulema spp. (e.g. O. oryzae (leaf beetle); Sitophilus spp. (e.g. S. oryzae (rice weevil)); Pachydiplosis spp. (e.g. P. oryzae (rice gall midge)); Hydrellia spp. (e.g. H. griseola (small rice leafminer), or H. sasakii (rice stem maggot)); Chlorops spp. (e.g. C. oryzae (stem maggot)); Diabrotica spp. (e.g. D. virgifera virgifera (western com rootworm), D. barberi (northern corn rootworm), D. undecimpunctata howardi (southern com rootworm), D. virgifera zeae (Mexican com rootworm); D. balteata (banded cucumber beetle)); Ostrinia spp. (e.g. O. nubilalis (European com borer)); Agrotis spp. (e.g. A.ipsilon (black cutworm)); Elasmopalpus spp. (e.g. E. lignosellus (lesser cornstalk borer)); Melanotus spp. (wireworms); Cyclocephala spp. (e.g. C. borealis (northern masked chafer), or C. immaculata (southern masked chafer)); Popillia spp. (e.g. P.japonica (Japanese beetle)); Chaetocnema spp. (e.g. C. pulicaria (com flea beetle)); Sphenophorus spp. (e.g. S. maidis (maize billbug)); Rhopalosiphum spp. (e.g. R. maidis (corn leaf aphid)); Anuraphis spp. (e.g. A. maidiradicis (corn root aphid)); Melanoplus spp. (e.g. M femurrubrum (redlegged grasshopper) M. differentialis (differential grasshopper) orM sanguinipes (migratory grasshopper)); Hylemya spp. (e.g. H. platura (seedcorn maggot)); Anaphothrips spp. (e.g. A. obscrurus (grass thrips)); Solenopsis spp. (e.g. S. milesta (thief ant)); or spp. (e.g. T. urticae (twospotted spider mite), T. cinnabarinus (carmine spider mite); Helicoverpa spp. (e.g. H. zea (cotton bollworm), or H. armigera (American bollworm));

Pectinophora spp. (e.g. P. gossypiella (pink bollworm)); Earias spp. (e.g. E. vittella (spotted bollworm)); Heliothis spp. (e.g. H. virescens (tobacco budworm)): Anlhononms spp. (e.g. A. grandis (boll weevil)); Pseudatomoscelis spp. (e.g. P. seriatus (cotton fleahopper)); Trialeurodes spp. (e.g. T. abutiloneus (banded-winged whitefly) T. vaporariorum (greenhouse whitefly)); Bemisia spp. (e.g. B. argentifolii (silverleaf whitefly)); Aphis spp. (e.g. A. gossypii (coton aphid)); Lygus spp. (e.g. L. lineolaris (tarnished plant bug) or L. hesperus (western tarnished plant bug)); Euschistus spp. (e.g. E. conspersus (consperse stink bug)); Chlorochroa spp. (e.g. C. sayi (Say stinkbug)); Nezara spp. (e.g. N viridula (southern green stinkbug)); Thrips spp. (e.g. T. tabaci (onion thrips)); Frankliniella spp. (e.g. F. fusca (tobacco thrips), or F. occidentalis (western flower thrips)); Leptinotarsa spp. (e.g. /.. decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle), /.. juncta (false potato beetle), or /.. texana (Texan false potato beetle)); Lema spp. (e.g. /.. trilineata (three-lined potato beetle)); Epitrix spp. (e.g. E. cucumeris (potato flea beetle), E. hirtipennis (flea beetle), or E. tuberis (tuber flea beetle)); Epicauta spp. (e.g. E. vittata (striped blister beetle)); Phaedon spp. (e.g. P. cochleariae (mustard leaf beetle)); Epilachna spp. (e.g. E. varivetis (mexican bean beetle)); Acheta spp. (e.g. A. domesticus (house cricket)); Empoasca spp. (e.g. E.fabae (potato leafhopper)); Myzus spp. (e.g. M. persicae (green peach aphid)); Paratrioza spp. (e.g. P. cockerelli (psyllid)); Conoderus spp. (e.g. C.falli (southern potato wireworm), or C. vespertinus (tobacco wireworm)); Phthorimaea spp. (e.g. P. operculella (potato tuberworm)); Macrosiphum spp. (e.g. M. euphorbiae (potato aphid)); Thyanta spp. (e.g. T. pallidovirens (redshouldered stinkbug)); Phthorimaea spp. (e.g. P. operculella (potato tuberworm)); Helicoverpa spp. (e.g. H. zea (tomato fruitworm); Keiferia spp. (e.g. K. lycopersicella (tomato pinworm)); Limonius spp. (wireworm s): Man due a spp. (e.g. M. sexta (tobacco homworm), orM quinquemaculata (tomato homworm)); Liriomyza spp. (e.g. L· sativae, L· trifolli or /.. huidobrensis (leafminer)); Drosophilla spp. (e.g. D. melanogaster, D. yakuba, D. pseudoobscura or I) simulans); Carabus spp. (e.g. C. granulatus); Chironomus spp. (e.g. C. tentanus); Ctenocephalides spp. (e.g. C. felis (cat flea)); Diaprepes spp. (e.g. D. abbreviatus (root weevil)); Ips spp. (e.g. I. pini (pine engraver)); Tribolium spp. (e.g. T. castaneum (red floor beetle)); Glossina spp. (e.g. G. morsitans (tsetse fly)); Anopheles spp. (e.g. A. gambiae (malaria mosquito)); Helicoverpa spp. (e.g. H. armigera (African Bollworm)); Acyrthosiphon spp. (e.g. A. pisum (pea aphid)); Apis spp. (e.g. A. melifera (honey bed)), Homalodisca spp. (e.g. H. coagulate (glassy -winged sharpshooter)); Aedes spp. (e.g.

Ae. aegypti (yellow fever mosquito)); Bombyx spp. (e.g. B. mori (silkworm)); Locusta spp. (e.g. L· migratoria (migratory locust)); Boophilus spp. (e.g. B. microplus (catle tick)); Acanthoscurria spp. (e.g. A. gomesiana (red-haired chololate bird eater)); Diploptera spp. (e.g. D. punctata (pacific beetle cockroach)); Heliconius spp. (e.g. H. erato (red passion flower buterfly) or H. melpomene (postman buterfly)); Curculio spp. (e.g. C. glandium (acom weevil)); Plutella spp. (e.g. P. xylostella (diamondback moth)); Amblyomma spp. (e.g. A. variegatum (catle tick)); Anteraea spp. (e.g. A. yamamai (silkmoth)); and Armigeres spp. (e.g. A. subalbatus).

[0144] The RIP toxins of the disclosure can be used in combination with other pesticidal agents to increase pest target range. Furthermore, the use of the RIP toxins of the disclosure in combination with a second insecticidal agent which has a different mode of action or targets a different receptor in the insect gut has particular utility for the prevention and/or management of insect resistance. In some embodiments, a RIP toxin of the disclosure is combined with a second insecticidal protein selected from the group consisting of CrylA, CrylAb, CrylAc, CrylA.105, CrylAe, Cry IB, CrylB variants, CrylC, Cry 1C variants, CrylD, CrylD variants, Cry IE, Cry IF, CrylA/F chimeras, CrylG, CrylH, Cryll, CrylJ, Cry IK, Cry IF, Cry2A, Cry2Ab, Cry2Ae, Cry3, Cry3A variants, Cry3B, Cry4B, Cry6, Cry 7, Cry8, Cry9, Cryl5, Cry34, Cry35, Cry43A, Cry43B, Cry46A, Cry51Aal, PtIP-96, PtIP-83, PHI-4, MP467, MP81, PS149B1, DIG-3, DIG-5, DIG-10, DIG-11, DIG-17, DIG-657,

IRDIG28688.1, IRDIG28688.1, IRDIG28684.1, IRDIG28682.1, IRDIG28680.1, IRDIG28674.1, IRDIG28672.1, IRDIG27642, IRDIG28688.1, IRDIG28686.1, IRDIG28684.1, IRDIG28682.1, IRDIG28680.1, IRDIG28674.1, IRDIG28672.1, IRDIG27642, IRDIG28678.2, IRDIG28678.1, IRDIG31125.1, IRDIG28696.1, IRDIG29781.1, IRDIG29779.1, IRDIG30844.1, IRDIG30850.1, IRDIG30852.1, IRDIG30854.1, IRDIG30856.1, IRDIG30858.1, IRDIG30862.1, IRDIG30860.1, IRDIG30848.1 RETIRE2021, VIP3A, VIP3B, VIP3Ab, the binary VIP1 and VIP2, or other vegetative insecticidal protein, mCry3A, eCry3.1Ab, AXMI-001, AXMI-002, AXMI-030, AXMI- 035, AXMI-036, AXMI-045, AXMI52, AXMI58, AXMI88, AXMI97, AXMI102, AXMI112, AXMI113, AXMI115, AXMI117, AXMI100, AXMI-115, AXMI-113, and AXMI-005, AXMI134, AXMI-150, AXMI171, AXMI-184, AXMI196, AXMI204, AXMI207, AXMI209, AXMI205, AXMI218, AXMI220, AXMI221z, AXMI222z, AXMI223z, AXMI224z and AXMI225z, AXMI238, AXMI270, AXMI279, AXMI345, AXMI-R1 and variants thereof, IP3 and variants thereof, ET29, ET33, ET34, ET35, ET66, ET70, TIC400, TIC407, TIC417, TIC431, TIC800, TIC807, TIC834, TIC836, TIC844, TIC853, TIC860 or variant thereof, TIC867 or variant thereof, TIC868 or variant thereof, TIC869, TIC900 or related protein, TIC901, TIC1100, TIC1201, TIC1362, TIC1414,

TIC 1415, TIC 1422, TIC1497, TIC1498, TIC1885, TIC1886, TIC1922, TIC1925, TIC1974, TIC2032, TIC2120, TIC2160, TIC3131, TIC3244, TIC6757, TIC7243, TIC7472, and a TIC7473 protein, or hybrid proteins or chimeras made from any of the preceding insecticidal proteins. The second insecticidal agent can also be an agent selected from the group comprising an a amylase, a peroxidase, a cholesterol oxidase, a patatin, a protease, a protease inhibitor, a urease, an alpha- amylase inhibitor, a pore-forming protein, a chitinase, a lectin, an engineered antibody or antibody fragment, a Bacillus cereus insecticidal protein, a Xenorhabdus spp. (such asX nematophila orX bovienii) insecticidal protein, a Photorhabdus spp. (such as P. luminescens or P. asymobioticd) insecticidal protein, a Brevibacillus spp. (such as B. laterosporous ) insecticidal protein, a Lysinibacillus spp. (such as L. sphearicus ) insecticidal protein, a Chromobacterium spp. (such as C. subtsugae or C. piscinae) insecticidal protein, a Yersinia spp. (such as Y. entomophagd) insecticidal protein, aPaenibacillus spp. (such as P. propylaed) insecticidal protein, a Clostridium spp. (such as C bifermentans) insecticidal protein, and a lignin. In other embodiments, the second agent may be at least one insecticidal protein derived from an insecticidal toxin complex (Tc) from Photorhabdus, Xenorhabus, Serratia, or Yersinia. In still other embodiments, the second insecticidal protein may be a binary toxin derived from an insecticidal bacteria, such as ISP1A and ISP2A from B. laterosporous or BinA and BinB from L. sphaericus. The combination of a RIP of the disclosure and a second pesticidal agent may be through expression of both in a transgenic plant. In some embodiments the transgenic plant is a transgenic com plant. In other embodiments, the combination in the transgenic corn plant is a RIP of the disclosure and mCry3 A and/or eCry3.1 Ab and/or Cry3Bbl and/or Cry34/Cry35.

[0145] In some embodiments, the transgenic plant of the disclosure may comprise at least a second pesticidal agent which is non-proteinaceous. In preferred embodiments, the second pesticidal agent is an interfering RNA molecule. An interfering RNA typically comprises at least a RNA fragment against a target gene, a spacer sequence, and a second RNA fragment which is complementary to the first, so that a double-stranded RNA structure can be formed. RNA interference (RNAi) occurs when an organism recognizes double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules and hydrolyzes them. The resulting hydrolysis products are small RNA fragments of about 19-24 nucleotides in length, called small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The siRNAs then diffuse or are carried throughout the organism, including across cellular membranes, where they hybridize to mRNAs (or other RNAs) and cause hydrolysis of the RNA. Interfering RNAs are recognized by the RNA interference silencing complex (RISC) into which an effector strand (or “guide strand”) of the RNA is loaded. This guide strand acts as a template for the recognition and destruction of the duplex sequences. This process is repeated each time the siRNA hybridizes to its complementary -RNA target, effectively preventing those mRNAs from being translated, and thus “silencing” the expression of specific genes from which the mRNAs were transcribed. Interfering RNAs are known in the art to be useful for insect control (see, for example, publication WO2013/192256, incorporated by reference herein). An interfering RNA designed for use in insect control produces a non-naturally occurring double-stranded RNA, which takes advantage of the native RNAi pathways in the insect to trigger down-regulation of target genes that may lead to the cessation of feeding and/or growth and may result in the death of the insect pest. The interfering RNA molecule may confer insect resistance against the same target pest as the protein of the disclosure, or may target a different pest. The targeted insect plant pest may feed by chewing, sucking, or piercing. Interfering RNAs are known in the art to be useful for insect control. In other embodiments, the interfering RNA may confer resistance against a non-insect plant pest, such as a nematode pest or a virus pest.

[0146] The co-expression of more than one pesticidal agent in the same transgenic plant can be achieved by making a single recombinant vector comprising coding sequences of more than one pesticidal agent in a so called molecular stack and genetically engineering a plant to contain and express all the pesticidal agents in the transgenic plant. Such molecular stacks may be also be made by using mini-chromosomes as described, for example in US Patent 7,235,716. Alternatively, a transgenic plant comprising one nucleic acid encoding a first pesticidal agent can be re-transformed with a different nucleic acid encoding a second pesticidal agent and so forth. Alternatively, a plant, Parent 1, can be genetically engineered for the expression of genes of the present disclosure. A second plant, Parent 2, can be genetically engineered for the expression of a second pesticidal agent. By crossing Parent 1 with Parent 2, progeny plants are obtained which express all the genes introduced into Parents 1 and 2.

[0147] Transgenic plants or seed comprising an insecticidal protein of the disclosure can also be treated with an insecticide or insecticidal seed coating as described in U. S. Patent Nos. 5,849,320 and 5,876,739, herein incorporated by reference. Where both the insecticide or insecticidal seed coating and the transgenic plant or seed of the disclosure are active against the same target insect, for example a Coleopteran pest or a Diabrotica target pest, the combination is useful (i) in a method for further enhancing activity of the composition of the disclosure against the target insect, and (ii) in a method for preventing development of resistance to the composition of the disclosure by providing yet another mechanism of action against the target insect. Thus, the disclosure provides a method of enhancing control of a Diabrotica insect population comprising providing a transgenic plant or seed of the disclosure and applying to the plant or the seed an insecticide or insecticidal seed coating to a transgenic plant or seed of the disclosure.

[0148] Even where the insecticidal seed coating is active against a different insect, the insecticidal seed coating is useful to expand the range of insect control, for example by adding an insecticidal seed coating that has activity against lepidopteran insects to a transgenic seed of the disclosure, which, in some embodiments, has activity against coleopteran and some lepidopteran insects, the coated transgenic seed produced controls both lepidopteran and coleopteran insect pests.

[0149] Examples of such insecticides and/or insecticidal seed coatings include, without limitation, a carbamate, a pyrethroid, an organophosphate, a friprole, a neonicotinoid, an organochloride, a nereistoxin, or a combination thereof. In another embodiment, the insecticide or insecticidal seed coating are selected from the group consisting of carbofuran, carbaryl, methomyl, bifenthrin, tefluthrin, permethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos, chlorethoxyfos, dimethoate, ethoprophos, malathion, methyl-parathion, phorate, terbufos, tebupirimiphos, fipronil, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, endosulfan, bensultap, and a combination thereof. Commercial products containing such insecticides and insecticidal seed coatings include, without limitation, Furadan® (carbofuran), Lanate® (methomyl, metomil, mesomile), Sevin® (carbaryl), Talstar® (bifenthrin), Force® (tefluthrin), Ammo® (cypermethrin), Cymbush®(cypermethrin), Delta Gold® (deltamethrin), Karate® (lambda-cyhalothrin), Ambush® (permethrin), Pounce® (permethrin), Brigade® (bifenthrin), Capture® (bifenthrin), ProShield® (tefluthrin), Warrior® (lambda-cyhalothrin), Dursban® (chlorphyrifos), Fortress® (chlorethoxyfos), Mocap® (ethoprop), Thimet® (phorate), AAstar® (phorate, flucythinate), Rampart® (phorate), Counter® (terbufos), Cygon® (dimethoate), Dicapthon, Regent® (fipronil), Cruiser®

(thiamethoxam), Gaucho® (imidacloprid), Prescribe® (imidacloprid), Poncho® (clothianidin) and Aztec® (cyfluthrin, tebupirimphos). [0150] In some embodiments, the disclosure also encompasses a composition comprising an effective insect-controlling amount of an insecticidal protein of the disclosure. In further embodiments, the composition comprises a suitable agricultural carrier and a RIP of the disclosure. The agricultural carrier may include adjuvants, mixers, enhancers, etc. beneficial for application of an active ingredient, such as a protein of the disclosure, including a protein comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of an amino acid sequence that is at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 95%, or 100% identical to of any of SEQ ID NO: 1-21. Suitable carriers should not be phytotoxic to valuable crops, particularly at the concentrations employed in applying the compositions in the presence of crops, and should not react chemically with the compounds of the active ingredient herein, namely a polypeptide of the disclosure, or other composition ingredients. Such mixtures can be designed for application directly to crops, or can be concentrates or formulations which are normally diluted with additional carriers and adjuvants before application. They may include inert or active components and can be solids, such as, for example, dusts, powders, granules, water dispersible granules, or wettable powders, or liquids, for example, emulsifiable concentrates, solutions, emulsions or suspensions. Suitable agricultural carriers may include liquid carriers, for example water, toluene, xylene, petroleum naphtha, crop oil, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, cyclohexanone, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, ethyl acetate, amyl acetate, butyl acetate, propylene glycol monomethyl ether and diethylene glycol monomethyl ether, methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, amyl alcohol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, glycerine, and the like. Water is generally the carrier of choice for the dilution of concentrates. Suitable solid carriers may include talc, pyrophyllite clay, silica, attapulgus clay, kieselguhr, chalk, diatomaceous earth, lime, calcium carbonate, bentonire clay, Fuller's earth, cotton seed hulls, wheat flour, soybean flour, pumice, wood flour, walnut shell flour, lignin, and the like. In other embodiments, a protein of the disclosure may be encapsulated in a synthetic matrix such as a polymer and applied to the surface of a host such as a plant. Ingestion of the host cells by an insect permits delivery of the insect control agents to the insect and results in a toxic effect in the insect pest. [0151] In further embodiments, a composition of the disclosure may be a powder, dust, pellet, granule, spray, emulsion, colloid, or solution. A composition of the disclosure may be prepared by desiccation, lyophilization, homogenization, extraction, filtration, centrifugation, sedimentation, or concentration of a culture of bacterial cells. A composition of the disclosure may comprise at least 1%, about 5%, at least 10%, at least 20%, at least 25%, at least 30%, at least 35%, at least 40%, at least 50%, at least 60%, at least 70%, at least 80%, at least 90%, at least 95%, at least 97%, or at least 99% by weight a polypeptide of the disclosure. A composition of the disclosure may comprise at least a second pesticidal agent, which may be insecticidal, nematicidal, fungicidal, or bactericidal. At least a second pesticidal agent may be insecticidal to the same insect as a polypeptide of the disclosure or to a different insect. The second pesticidal agent may be a polypeptide. The pesticidal agent may be an interfering RNA. The second pesticidal agent may be a microorganism, such as a bacteria, which comprises a nucleic acid molecule that encodes for a pesticidal agent and/or contains a pesticidal agent such as a polypeptide or interfering RNA. The microorganism may be attenuated, heat-inactivated, or lyophilized. The microorganism may be dead or unable to reproduce. The second pesticidal agent may be an insecticide, for example arbofuran, carbary 1, methomyl, bifenthrin, tefluthrin, permethrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, chlorpyrifos, chlorethoxyfos, dimethoate, ethoprophos, malathion, methyl-parathion, phorate, terbufos, tebupirimiphos, fipronil, acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, endosulfan, bensultap, or a combination thereof, or a commercial product containing such insecticides and insecticidal seed coatings as described above.

[0152] A composition of the disclosure, for example a composition comprising a protein of the disclosure and an agriculturally acceptable carrier, may be used in conventional agricultural methods. An agriculturally acceptable carrier is a formulation useful for applying a composition comprising a polypeptide of the disclosure to a plant or seed. For example, the compositions of the disclosure may be mixed with water and/or fertilizers and may be applied preemergence and/or postemergence to a desired locus by any means, such as airplane spray tanks, irrigation equipment, direct injection spray equipment, knapsack spray tanks, cattle dipping vats, farm equipment used in ground spraying (e.g., boom sprayers, hand sprayers), and the like. The desired locus may be soil, plants, and the like.

[0153] A composition of the disclosure may be applied to a seed or plant propagule in any physiological state, at any time between harvest of the seed and sowing of the seed; during or after sowing; and/or after sprouting. It is preferred that the seed or plant propagule be in a sufficiently durable state that it incurs no or minimal damage, including physical damage or biological damage, during the treatment process. A formulation may be applied to the seeds or plant propagules using conventional coating techniques and machines, such as fluidized bed techniques, the roller mill method, rotostatic seed treaters, and drum coaters.

[0154] In some embodiments, the disclosure also comprises a method for controlling a coleopteran pest population comprising contacting the pest population with an effective insect-controlling amount of a RIP of the disclosure, where the protein comprises, consist essentially of or consists of an amino acid sequence that has at least 80%, at least 85%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or is 100% identical to any one of SEQ ID NO: 1-21. Contacting includes members of the pest population feeding on or ingesting the insecticidal protein. The insecticidal protein may be incorporated into insect diet food or may be expressed in or present on plant tissue which the insect population then ingests. In further embodiments, controlling the coleopteran pest population includes killing the insects by contacting the insects with an effective insect-controlling amount of an insecticidal protein of the disclosure.

[0155] The present disclosure also comprises a method for increasing yield in a plant comprising growing in a field a plant, or a seed thereof, having stably incorporated into its genome a nucleic acid molecule of an expression cassette of the disclosure, and wherein said field is infested with a pest against which said polypeptide has insecticidal activity.

[0156] Once a desired nucleic acid has been transformed into a particular plant species, it may be propagated in that species or moved into other varieties of the same species, particularly including commercial varieties, using traditional breeding techniques.

[0157] In some embodiments, the disclosure encompasses a method of providing a com grower with a means of controlling a Diabrotica insect pest population in a com crop comprising (a) selling or providing to the grower transgenic com seed that comprises a nucleic acid molecule, an expression cassette, a vector or a chimeric gene of the disclosure; and (b) advertising to the grower that the transgenic corn seed produce transgenic com plants that control a Diabrotica pest population.

[0158] In some embodiments, the disclosure also encompasses a method of identifying an insecticidal protein comprising, consisting essentially of or consisting of a nucleotide sequence having has at least 80%, at least 81%, at least 82%, at least 83%, at least 84%, at least 85%, at least 86%, at least 87%, at least 88%, at least 89%, at least 90%, at least 91%, at least 92%, at least 93%, at least 94%, at least 95%, at least 96%, at least 97%, at least 98%, at least 99%, or having 100% sequence identity with any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-21, or a toxin fragment thereof, the method comprising the steps of: (a) producing a primer pair that will amplify a polynucleotide of any of SEQ ID NOs:22-25 from a nucleic acid sample, or a complement thereof, (b) amplifying an orthologous polynucleotide from the nucleic acid sample, (c) identifying a nucleotide sequence of an orthologous polynucleotide, (d) producing a protein encoded by the orthologous polynucleotide, and (e) determining that the protein of step (d) has insecticidal activity against an insect pest.

EXAMPLES

[0159] Embodiments of this invention can be better understood by reference to the following examples. The foregoing and following description of embodiments of the invention and the various embodiments are not intended to limit the claims, but are rather illustrative thereof. Therefore, it will be understood that the claims are not limited to the specific details of these examples. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that other embodiments of the invention may be practiced without departing from the spirit and the scope of the disclosure, the scope of which is defined by the appended claims. Art recognized recombinant DNA and molecular cloning techniques may be found in, for example, J. Sambrook, et al., Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 3d Ed., Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (2001); by T.J. Silhavy, M.L. Berman, and L.W. Enquist, Experiments with Gene Fusions , Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY (1984) and by Ausubel, F.M. et al, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology , New York, John Wiley and Sons Inc., (1988), Reiter, et al. , Methods in Arabidopsis Research, World Scientific Press (1992), and Schultz et al, Plant Molecular Biology Manual, Kluwer Academic Publishers (1998).

Example 1: Identification of sequences from Rhizobiaceae encoding insecticidal proteins.

[0160] Based on proprietary algorithms, candidate nucleotide sequences encoding proteins, described in the art as hypothetical proteins, were identified in the genomes of gram negative bacteria in Sinorhizobium, Ensifer, Rhizobium, and related genera, which belong to the family Rhizobiaceae.

Four candidate sequences were chosen for expression and testing against insect pests. The four candidate nucleotide sequences were identified in the genomes of a strain of Ensifer aridi (NCBTtxid 1708715) (SEQ ID NO:22), a strain of Sinorhizobium sp. GL28 (NCBI:txidl358418)

(SEQ ID NO:23), a strain of unclassified Rhizobiales bacterium (NCBI:txidl909294) (SEQ ID NO:24) and a strain Rhizobium sp. SPY-1 (NCBI:txid2547961) (SEQ ID NO:25). Escherichia coli ( E . coli ) codon-optimized versions of each candidate coding sequence was produced, SEQ ID NOs:26-29, respectively, and individually introduced into a pET29a bacterial expression vector, designated pET29a-26, pET29a-27, pET29a-28 and pET29a-29, respectively, to generate protein. Each pET29a expression vector was transformed into E. coli BL21*(DE3) and a lysate was made from isopropyl b- D-l-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) -induced cultures with protein production at about 18°C overnight. Lysates were tested for insecticidal activity against western com rootworm (WCR) in a diet- incorporation bioassay experiment. Briefly, E. coli lysates were mixed with an equal volume of heated artificial insect diet (Bioserv, Inc., Frenchtown, NJ) in 1.5 mL centrifuge tubes and then applied to small petri-dishes. After the diet-sample mixture cooled and solidified, 12 WCR larvae were added to each plate. The plates were sealed and maintained at ambient laboratory conditions with regard to temperature, lighting and relative humidity. Buffer without lysate, lysates from E. coli BL21*(DE3) cultures harboring the empty pET29a vector, and artificial insect diet alone were used as negative controls. Percent mortality and growth inhibition observations, designated as s = small larvae, m= medium larvae and 1= large larvae, were taken at 4 and 6 days post-infestation.

[0161] Results, shown in Table 1, demonstrate that lysates from E. coli cultures expressing proteins encoded in the genomes of bacteria in the family Rhizobiaceae surprisingly have insecticidal activity against Diabrotica insect pests. These Rhizobiaceae Insecticidal Proteins (RIPs) were designated Enf adiCRW (RIPlAa; SEQ ID NO:l), which was expressed by the pET29a-26 vector, Sinorhiz_GL28CRW (RIP2Aa; SEQ ID NO:2), which was expressed by the pET29a-27 vector,

Rhizo bactCRW (RIP3Aa; SEQ ID NO:3), which was expressed by the pET29a-28 vector, and Rhiz SPYCRW (RIP4Aa; SEQ ID NO:4), which was expressed by the pET29a-29 vector.

Table 1 : Insecticidal activity of RIPs against WCR.

[0162] An alignment of the RIPs active against WCR and a sequence identity comparison is shown in Table 2. A BLAST ® (United States National Library of Medicine) search of the GenBank ® (United States National Institute of Health) genetic sequence database indicated that the RIPs of the disclosure do not have significant identity with any other sequences. However, the RIPs of the disclosure appear to have a cytotoxin domain. The Enf adiCRW protein (RIPlAa; SEQ ID NO:l) has 345 amino acids, is 38 kDa and comprises a cytotoxin domain from about amino acid 40 to about amino acid 234. The Sinorhiz_GL28CRW protein (RIP2Aa; SEQ ID NO:2) has 344 amino acids, is 37.7 kDa and comprises a cytotoxin domain from about amino acid 39 to about amino acid 233. The Rhizo bactCRW protein (RIP3Aa; SEQ ID NO:3) has 351 amino acids, is 38.5 kDa and comprises a cytotoxin domain from about amino acid 46 to about amino acid 240. The Rhiz SPYCRW protein (RIP4Aa; SEQ ID NO:4) has 347 amino acids, is 38.2 kDa and comprises a cytotoxin domain from about amino acid 40 to about amino acid 234. Other bacteria, for example, Bacillus thuringiensis, are known to produce proteins with cytotoxin domains that have insecticidal activity against primarily dipteran insects and not coleopteran insects, particularly not Diabrotica pest insects. However, the cytotoxin domains of the RIPs of the disclosure appear to be unique and while not being bound by theory, it is believed that these unique cytotoxin domains of the RIPs of the disclosure are responsible for their surprising activity against coleopteran insect pests, particularly pests in the Genus Diabrotica.

Table 3. Alignment of RIPs cytotoxin domains.

Example 2. Potency of RIPs to corn rootworm.

[0163] To determine the potency of RIPs of the disclosure to western com rootworm (WCR; Diabrotica virgifera ), lysates comprising RIPs of the disclosure were tested over a range of concentrations against WCR larvae in a diet-incorporation assay essentially as described in Example 1. Twelve neonate larvae were tested at each concentration. Percent mortality and growth was determined at day 4 and day 6 for RIP2Aa and at day 3 and day 6 for RIP3Aa.

[0164] As shown in Table 4, even at a 1:100 dilution, a lysate comprising RIP2Aa (SEQ ID NO:2) is efficacious against WCR, producing at least 25% mortality at day 6 compared to no mortality in the control treatment. RIP3Aa was active at the lowest concentration of 1:64, producing 100% mortality by day 6.

Table 4. Potency of RIP lysates against western corn rootworm.

[0165] The RIP2Aa protein was further characterized for its insecticidal properties. Two liters of E.coli BL21* (DE3) cells harboring pET -rip2Aa were grown at 37 °C in LB media. IPTG (1 mM) was added to the cultures when the O.D. reached 0.8-1.0 and then the cultures were moved to 18 °C for 18 hours. The cell pellet was harvested and re-suspended in 20 mM Tris, pH 8.5 with 10% glycerol. The cells were lysed using a French pressure cell; the lysate was then spun at 100k x g in an ultracentrifuge. The supernatant was collected and then filtered before loading onto a HiPrepQ anion- exchange column that was pre-equilibrated in 20 mM Tris, pH 8.5 with 10% glycerol. The HiPrepQ column bound RIP2Aa effectively; the protein was eluted from the column using a linear NaCl gradient. The high-salt buffer consisted of 20 mM Tris, pH 8.5, 0.5 M NaCl with 10% glycerol. The purest fractions were pooled and then concentrated to approximately 2 mL. The RIP2Aa protein was loaded onto a Sephadex 200 gel filtration column that had been pre-equilibrated in IX PBS. Fractions from the Sephadex 200 column were analyzed for purity by SDS-PAGE (RIP2Aa (SEQ ID NO:2) has a predicted molecular weight of 37.7 kDa). The purest fractions were pooled and then concentrated to about 7 mg/mL, prior to storage at -80 °C. The pure RIP2Aa protein was then tested against 12 WCR larvae over a range of concentrations in the diet-incorporation assay essentially as described above.

As shown in Table 5, RIP2Aa is efficacious against WCR; RIP2Aa at 75 pg/mL produced at least 75% mortality at day 6.

Table 5. Activity of RIP2Aa against western com rootworm.

Example 3. Bioactivity of RIP variants.

[0166] Variant RIPs were made by making single or double amino acid substitutions in a native RIP3Aa sequence (SEQ ID NO:3). The variants that were made included the following: the 150 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I150L; Xaa50 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO:6), the 153 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I53L; Xaa53 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO:7), the 156 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I56L; Xaa56 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO:8), the A62 residue was changed to C or L (RIP3Aa-A62C or RIP3Aa-A62L; Xaa62 of SEQ ID NO:5 is C or L; SEQ ID NO:9 or SEQ ID NO: 10), the A64 residue was changed to C or L (RIP3Aa-A64C or RIP3Aa- A64L; Xaa64 of SEQ ID NO:5 is C or L; SEQ ID NO: 11 or SEQ ID NO: 12), the 181 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I81L; Xaa81 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 13), the 1126 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I126L; Xaal26 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 14), the 1153 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I153L; Xaal53 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 15), the 1169 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I169L; Xaal69 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 16), the 1185 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I185L; Xaal85 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 17), the 1207 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I207L; Xaa207 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 18), the 1219 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I219L; Xaa219 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO: 19), and the 1275 residue was changed to L (RIP3Aa-I275L; Xaa275 of SEQ ID NO:5 is L; SEQ ID NO:20).

[0167] Each variant was tested against neonate WCR larvae in a diet-incorporation assay essentially as described in Example 1. Results are shown in Table 6. The results indicate that certain amino acid substitutions can be made in a RIP and still maintain insecticidal activity against Diabrotica. There does appear to be certain mutations that delay full toxicity indicating that these positions may be important in the mode of action of the Rhizobaceae insecticidal proteins.

Table 6. Insecticidal activity of variant RIPs.

Example 4. Transformation of Maize with RIP coding sequences. [0168] A nucleotide sequence that encodes a RIP1 Aa, RIP2Aa, RIP3Aa, RIP4Aa of the disclosure, or variants thereof, e.g. any of SEQ ID NOs: 1-5, or a maize-optimized nucleotide sequence, e.g. any of SEQ ID NOs:42-45, which can be generated, for example, as described in US Patent No.

6,051,760, is transformed into corn for control of com rootworm.

[0169] Two plant expression cassettes are constructed to introduce a RIP coding sequence into maize. The first cassette comprises a maize ubiquitin 1 (Ubil) promoter operably linked to the rip coding sequence which is operably linked to a maize Ubi361 terminator. The second cassette comprises a maize Ubil promoter operably linked to a pmi coding sequence that encodes the selectable marker phosphomannose isomerase (PMI), which is operably linked to a maize Ubil terminator. A recombinant plant transformation binary vector comprising the two expression cassettes is generated for maize transformation experiments.

[0170] The binary vector is transformed into Agrobacterium tumefaciens using standard molecular biology techniques. To prepare the Agrobacteria for transformation, cells are cultured in liquid YPC media at 28°C and 220 rpm overnight.

[0171] Agrobacterium transformation of immature maize embryos is performed essentially as described in Negrotto et al., 2000, Plant Cell Reports 19: 798-803. For this example, all media constituents are essentially as described in Negrotto et al., supra. However, various media constituents known in the art may be substituted.

[0172] Briefly, Agrobacterium strain LBA4404 (pSBl) containing the binary vector plant transformation vector is grown on YEP (yeast extract (5 g/L), peptone (lOg/L), NaCl (5g/L), 15g/l agar, pH 6.8) solid medium for 2 - 4 days at 28°C. Approximately 0.8X 10 9 Agrobacterium are suspended in LS-inf media supplemented with 100 mM As (Negrotto et al., supra). Bacteria are preinduced in this medium for 30-60 minutes.

[0173] Immature embryos from a suitable genotype are excised from 8 - 12 day old ears into liquid LS-inf + 100 mM As. Embryos are rinsed once with fresh infection medium. Agrobacterium solution is then added and embryos are vortexed for 30 seconds and allowed to settle with the bacteria for 5 minutes. The embryos are then transferred scutellum side up to LSAs medium and cultured in the dark for two to three days. Subsequently, between 20 and 25 embryos per petri plate are transferred to LSDc medium supplemented with cefotaxime (250 mg/1) and silver nitrate (1.6 mg/1) and cultured in the dark for 28°C for 10 days.

[0174] Immature embryos, producing embryogenic callus are transferred to LSD1M0.5S medium. The cultures are selected on this medium for about 6 weeks with a subculture step at about 3 weeks. Surviving calli are transferred to Regl medium supplemented with mannose. Following culturing in the light (16 hour light/ 8 hour dark regiment), green tissues are then transferred to Reg2 medium without growth regulators and incubated for about 1-2 weeks. Plantlets are transferred to Magenta GA-7 boxes (Magenta Corp, Chicago Ill.) containing Reg3 medium and grown in the light. [0175] Following transformation, selection, and regeneration, plants are assayed for the presence of the pmi gene and the rip maize codon-optimized coding sequence using TaqMan® analysis. Plants are also tested for the presence of the vector backbone. Plants negative for the vector backbone and comprising one copy of the transgene from the binary vector are transferred to the greenhouse and tested for insecticidal activity against WCR.

Example 5. Rhizobium insecticidal proteins in combination with second insecticidal agent.

[0176] A RIP of the disclosure as described above is purified as in Example 2. dsRNA against an essential target and known to have insecticidal activity is prepared. In non-limiting examples, the dsRNA may target a gene encoding vacuolar ATP synthase, beta-tubulin, 26S proteosome subunit p28 protein, EFla 48D, troponin I, tetraspanin, clathrin heavy chain, gamma-coatomer, beta-coatomer, and/or juvenile hormone epoxide hydrolase (PCT Patent Application Nos. PCT/US 17/044825; PCT/US 17/044831; PCT/US 17/044832; U.S. Patent No. 7,812,219; each herein incorporated by reference). The dsRNA and purified protein are tested for efficacy against WCR in a diet- incorporation assay, performed essentially as described in Example 1.

Example 6. Genome editing in plant cells in situ to generate modified RIPs.

[0177] The following Example illustrates the use of genome editing of a plant cell genome in situ to incorporate the mutations described herein (including but not limited to the mutations described in Example 3) into a coding sequence for a native RIP, including RIP3Aa (SEQ ID NO:3), or into a coding sequence for an already modified RIP3Aa protein.

[0178] Targeted genome modification, also known as genome editing, is useful for introducing mutations in specific DNA sequences. These genome editing technologies, which include zinc finger nucleases (ZNFs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENS), meganucleases and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) have been successfully applied to over 50 different organisms including crop plants. See, e.g.. Belhaj, K., et ak, Plant Methods 9, 39 (2013); Jiang, W., et ak, Nucleic Acids Res, 41, el88 (2013)). The CRISPR/Cas system for genome editing is based on transient expression of Cas9 nuclease and an engineered single guide RNA (sgRNA) that specifies the targeted polynucleotide sequence.

[0179] Cas9 is a large monomeric DNA nuclease guided to a DNA target sequence with the aid of a complex of two 20-nucleotide (nt) non-coding RNAs: CRIPSR RNA (crRNA) and trans-activating crRNA (tracrRNA), which are functionally available as single synthetic RNA chimera. The Cas9 protein contains two nuclease domains homologous to RuvC and HNH nucleases. The HNH nuclease domain cleaves the complementary DNA strand, whereas the RuvC-like domain cleaves the noncomplementary strand and, as a result, a blunt cut is introduced in the target DNA.

[0180] When the Cas9 and the sgRNA are transiently expressed in living maize cells, double strand breaks (DSBs) in the specific targeted DNA is created in the transgenic maize cell. Mutation at the break site is introduced through the non-homologous end joining and homology -directed DNA repair pathways.

[0181] Specific mutations, for example mutations described in Example 3 above, are introduced into a coding sequence for the native RIP3 Aa insecticidal protein (SEQ ID NO:3) or a mutant RIP3 Aa protein, through the use of recombinant plasmids expressing the Cas9 nuclease and the sgRNA target that is maize codon optimized for the rip3Aa or mutant rip3Aa sequence in the transgenic maize. Implementation of the method is by an agroinfiltration method with Agrobacterium tumefaciens carrying the binary plasmid harboring the specified target sequence of interest. After the sgRNA binds to the target rip3Aa or mutant rip3Aa coding sequence, the Cas9 nuclease makes specific cuts into the coding sequence and introduces the desired mutation(s) during DNA repair. Thus, a now mutated rip3Aa coding sequence will encode a modified variant RIP3Aa protein, such as the variants described in Example 3, for example, where a mutation at 150 residue is changed to L, the 153 residue is changed to L, the 156 residue is changed to L, the A62 residue is changed to C or L, the A64 residue is changed to C or L, the 181 residue is changed to L, the 1126 residue is changed to L, the 1153 residue is changed to L, the 1169 residue is changed to L, the 1185 residue is changed to L, the 1207 residue is changed to L, the 1219 residue is changed to L, and the 1275 residue is changed to L, or any combination thereof.

[0182] Plant cells comprising the genome edited rip coding sequences are screened by PCR and sequencing. Calli that harbor genome edited mutations in the rip or modified rip coding sequences are induced to regenerate plants for phenotype evaluation for insecticidal activity of the expressed RIP against western corn rootworm ( Diabrotica virgifera virgifera ), Northern Corn Rootworm ( Diabrotica barberi ), Southern Com Rootworm ( Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi) and/or Mexican Corn Rootworm ( Diabrotica virgifera zeae).

Example 8. Testing RIPs for insecticidal activity against lepidopteran pests.

[0183] A pET-6His-SUMO construct comprising riplAa (SEQ ID NO:21) was made to express tagged RIPlAa (SEQ ID NO:49). The pET-6 His-SUMO-n/i/dfl construct was transformed into /·.. coli BL21*(DE3) for protein production. Lysates from bacterial cultures expressing 6his-SUMO- RIPlAa were tested for bioactivity on a panel of lepidopteran insect pests that included corn earworm (CEW), fall armyworm (FAW) and soybean looper (SBL) using diet-overlay bioassays. Neonate WCR larvae were tested for each experiment, using lysates from BL21* bacterial cultures harboring a gene encoding SUMO-RIP lAa (SEQ ID NO: 1) comprising six histidine tag at the N-terminus. A positive-control consisted of larvae exposed to E.coli BL21* lysates expressing a Vip3 protein. A buffer only and lysates from BL21* (DE3) bacterial cultures harboring an empty pET29 vector were used as negative controls. Mortality was assessed at day 7. Results of the bioassay indicated that tagged-RIPlAa is active against WCR but was not active against any of the lepidopteran pests tested. [0184] Bacterial lysates comprising RIP2Aa (SEQ ID NO:2) were also tested against lepidopteran pests including com earworm, European com borer, black cutworm and fall armyworm as described above. Results of the bioassay indicated that at the concentrations tested, there was no insecticidal activity of RIP2Aa against any of the lepidopteran pest insect species.

[0185] It should be understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof of the description will be suggested to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application and the scope of the appended claims.

[0186] All publications and patent applications mentioned in this specification are indicative of the level of skill of those skilled in the art that this invention pertains. All publications and patent applications are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.