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Agroinfiltration-based expression of hairpin RNA in soybean plants for RNA interference against Tetranychus urticae

Dubey, Vimal Kumar, Lee, Ung Gyu, Kwon, Deok Ho, Lee, Si Hyeock
Pesticide biochemistry and physiology 2017 v.142 pp. 53-58
RNA interference, Tetranychus urticae, agroinfiltration, aquaporins, arthropod pests, double-stranded RNA, hosts, mortality, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, soybeans, transgenes, transgenic plants
The coatomer subunit alpha (COPA) and aquaporin 9 (AQ9) genes from the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, were previously determined to exhibit RNA interference (RNAi)-based lethality when their double-stranded RNAs were systemically delivered via multi-unit chambers (Kwon et al., 2016 [8]). In current study, the hairpin RNAs of the COPA and AQ9 were transiently expressed in soybean plants by agroinfiltration. When T. urticae was fed with the soybean plants agroinfiltrated with the COPA and AQ9 hairpin RNA cassettes, the cumulative mortality increased significantly at 6days post-infestation. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that the transcript level of both COPA and AQ9 was significantly reduced in T. urticae after 2days post-infestation, thereby confirming that the significant increases in mortality resulted from the knockdown of COPA and AQ9 transcripts. Our findings demonstrate the utility of COPA and AQ9 as potential genes for plant host-mediated RNAi control of T. urticae. In addition, we proved the usefulness of agroinfiltration as a rapid validation tool for confirming the RNAi-based lethality of target genes against arthropod pests before producing transgenic plants as agroinfiltration requires less time and skill to validate transgene function. Furthermore, these findings prove the concept that hairpin RNA expressed in plant hosts can also induce RNAi and eventually kill T. urticae, a sap-sucking pest.