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Expression of Orseolia oryzae nucleoside diphosphate kinase (OoNDPK) is enhanced in rice gall midge feeding on susceptible rice hosts and its over-expression leads to salt tolerance in Escherichia coli


Correspondence: Suresh Nair, Plant Molecular Biology Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067, India. Tel.: + 91 11 26741242; fax: + 91 11 26742316; e-mail:


The Asian rice gall midge, Orseolia oryzae, is a major dipteran pest of rice, with many known biotypes. The present investigation was initiated to understand the molecular mechanisms of infestation for developing novel integrated pest management strategies. We isolated and characterized a gene, nucleoside diphosphate kinase (OoNDPK), from the rice gall midge, encoding a protein with 169 amino acid residues and with a secretory signal sequence – an observation that assumes significance as salivary gland secretions have been implicated to play a major role in insect−plant interactions. Furthermore, up-regulation (> 18 folds) of OoNDPK was observed in the salivary glands of maggots feeding on susceptible host in contrast to those feeding on resistant host. Phylogenetic analysis revealed similarity of OoNDPK with its dipteran orthologues. 3DLigandSite analysis, of the predicted OoNDPK and its orthologues, revealed phenylalanine and tyrosine residues to be specifically present in NDPK proteins from the plant feeders. Results suggest secretion of OoNDPK into the host plant and its probable involvement in gall midge−rice interaction. Using the coleoptile cell elongation assay, we demonstrated that the recombinant OoNDPK is capable of causing elongation of rice coleoptile cells. Additionally, heterologous expression of OoNDPK in Escherichia coli increased the tolerance of these cells to salt (NaCl; up to 1 mM), hinting at the involvement of this gene in abiotic stress response as well.