RNA interference (RNAi)-based host-induced gene silencing (HIGS) is emerging as a novel, efficient and target-specific tool to combat phytonematode infection in crop plants. Mi-msp-1, an effector gene expressed in the subventral pharyngeal gland cells of Meloidogyne incognita plays an important role in the parasitic process. Mi-msp-1 effector is conserved in few of the species of root-knot nematodes (RKNs) and does not share considerable homology with the other phytonematodes, thereby making it a suitable target for HIGS with minimal off-target effects. Six putative eggplant transformants harbouring a single copy RNAi transgene of Mi-msp-1 was generated. Stable expression of the transgene was detected in T1, T2 and T3 transgenic lines for which a detrimental effect on RKN penetration, development and reproduction was documented upon challenge infection with nematode juveniles. The post-parasitic nematode stages extracted from the transgenic plants showed long-term RNAi effect in terms of targeted downregulation of Mi-msp-1. These findings suggest that HIGS of Mi-msp-1 enhances nematode resistance in eggplant and protect the plant against RKN parasitism at very early stage.
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Ph.D. Student SC acknowledges her co-guide Dr. Vishakha Raina, School of Biotechnology, KIIT, Bhubaneswar, India. Current investigation was funded by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (Grant No. BT/PR5908/AGR/36/727/2012).
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Chaudhary, S., Dutta, T.K., Tyagi, N. et al. Host-induced silencing of Mi-msp-1 confers resistance to root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita in eggplant. Transgenic Res 28, 327–340 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-019-00126-5
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