Foliar Application of dsRNA to Induce Gene Silencing in Emerald Ash Borer: Systemic Distribution, Persistence, and Bioactivity †

Flávia Pampolini, Lynne K. Rieske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) is a cellular mechanism triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), in which gene expression is reduced in a sequence-specific manner, allowing development of pest-specific control strategies. Effective delivery of the dsRNA is a hurdle, particularly in systems with endophagous insects such as the emerald ash borer (EAB) Agrilus planipennis, an invasive phloem-feeding beetle that develops beneath the bark of ash trees, Fraxinus spp., causing rapid tree death. We evaluated uptake and bioactivity of dsRNA in green ash (F. pennsylvanica) growing in a greenhouse to investigate the feasibility of delivery through the host plant. To assess dsRNA persistence and distribution, seedlings were exposed to EAB-specific dsRNA using foliar spray and sectioned into different tissue types at selected time-points; RT-PCR and Sanger sequencing were used to detect the exogenous dsRNA. We found dsRNA persistence in plant tissues 21 days after treatment. To evaluate bioactivity, neonate EAB were exposed to treated seedlings and assessed for gene expression and feeding behavior. Results demonstrate gene silencing and a 24% (p = 0.03) reduction in cambial consumption. Our findings provide proof-of-concept for delivery of RNAi to the target insect through the host plant, suggesting the feasibility of RNAi functioning as a sustainable approach for tree protection against EAB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1853
JournalForests
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Keywords

  • RNA interference
  • dsRNA delivery
  • forest pest management
  • spray induced gene silencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Foliar Application of dsRNA to Induce Gene Silencing in Emerald Ash Borer: Systemic Distribution, Persistence, and Bioactivity †'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this