Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 153–161 | Cite as

RNA interference for the control of whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) by oral route

  • Santosh Kumar Upadhyay
  • K Chandrashekar
  • Nidhi Thakur
  • Praveen Chandra Verma
  • J Francis Borgio
  • Pradhyumna Kumar Singh
  • Rakesh Tuli


RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene silencing was explored for the control of sap-sucking pest Bemisia tabaci, commonly known as whitefly. dsRNAs and siRNAs were synthesized from five different genes – actin ortholog, ADP/ATP translocase, α-tubulin, ribosomal protein L9 (RPL9) and V-ATPase A subunit. A simplified insect bioassay method was developed for the delivery of ds/siRNA through the oral route, and efficacy was evaluated. ds/siRNA caused 29–97% mortality after 6 days of feeding. Each insect ingested nearly 150 nl of insect diet per day, which contained a maximum of 6 ng of RNA. Knocking down the expression of RPL9 and V-ATPase A caused higher mortality with LC50 11.21 and 3.08 μg/ml, respectively, as compared to other genes. Semi-quantitative PCR of the treated insects showed significant decrease in the level of RPL9 and V-ATPase A transcripts. siRNAs were found stable in the insect diet for at least 7 days at the room temperature. Phloem-specific expression of dsRNAs of RPL9 and V-ATPase A in transgenic plants for the protection against whiteflies might be an interesting application of this technology.


Bemisia tabaci RNAi ribosomal protein L9 α-tubulin V-ATPase 



Allium sativum agglutinin


Duncan’s multiple range test


expressed sequence tag; RNAi, RNA interference


ribosomal protein L9

Supplementary material

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ESM 1(DOC 196 kb)
12038_2011_9009_MOESM2_ESM.doc (200 kb)
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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santosh Kumar Upadhyay
    • 1
  • K Chandrashekar
    • 1
  • Nidhi Thakur
    • 1
  • Praveen Chandra Verma
    • 1
  • J Francis Borgio
    • 3
  • Pradhyumna Kumar Singh
    • 1
  • Rakesh Tuli
    • 2
  1. 1.National Botanical Research InstituteCouncil of Scientific and Industrial ResearchLucknowIndia
  2. 2.National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Department of BiotechnologyMohaliIndia
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologySt. Joseph’s CollegeBangaloreIndia

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