Get access

New insights into an RNAi approach for plant defence against piercing-sucking and stem-borer insect pests

Authors

  • Haichao Li,

    1. Key Laboratory of Insect Developmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ruobing Guan,

    1. Key Laboratory of Insect Developmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Huimin Guo,

    1. Key Laboratory of Insect Developmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Xuexia Miao

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Insect Developmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Insect double-stranded (ds)RNA expression in transgenic crops can increase plant resistance to biotic stress; however, creating transgenic crops to defend against every insect pest is impractical. ArabidopsisMob1A is required for organ growth and reproduction. When Arabidopsis roots were soaked in dsMob1A, the root lengths and numbers were significantly suppressed and plants could not bolt or flower. Twenty-four hours after rice roots were immersed in fluorescent-labelled dsEYFP (enhanced yellow fluorescent protein), fluorescence was observed in the rice sheath and stem and in planthoppers feeding on the rice. The expression levels of Ago and Dicer in rice and planthoppers were induced by dsEYFP. When rice roots were soaked in dsActin, their growth was also significantly suppressed. When planthoppers or Asian corn borers fed on rice or maize that had been irrigated with a solution containing the dsRNA of an insect target gene, the insect's mortality rate increased significantly. Our results demonstrate that dsRNAs can be absorbed by crop roots, trigger plant and insect RNAi and enhance piercing-sucking and stem-borer insect mortality rates. We also confirmed that dsRNA was stable under outdoor conditions. These results indicate that the root dsRNA soaking can be used as a bioinsecticide strategy during crop irrigation.

Ancillary