Host-Induced Silencing of Pathogenicity Genes Enhances Resistance to Fusarium oxysporum Wilt in Tomato
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This study presents a novel approach of controlling vascular wilt in tomato by RNAi expression directed to pathogenicity genes of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. Vascular wilt of tomato caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici leads to qualitative and quantitative loss of the crop. Limitation in the existing control measures necessitates the development of alternative strategies to increase resistance in the plants against pathogens. Recent findings paved way to RNAi, as a promising method for silencing of pathogenicity genes in fungus and provided effective resistance against fungal pathogens. Here, two important pathogenicity genes FOW2, a Zn(II)2Cys6 family putative transcription regulator, and chsV, a putative myosin motor and a chitin synthase domain, were used for host-induced gene silencing through hairpinRNA cassettes of these genes against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. HairpinRNAs were assembled in appropriate binary vectors and transformed into tomato plant targeting FOW2 and chsV genes, for two highly pathogenic strains of Fusarium oxysporum viz. TOFOL-IHBT and TOFOL-IVRI. Transgenic tomatoes were analyzed for possible attainment of resistance in transgenic lines against fungal infection. Eight transgenic lines expressing hairpinRNA cassettes showed trivial disease symptoms after 6–8 weeks of infection. Hence, the host-induced posttranscriptional gene silencing of pathogenicity genes in transgenic tomato plants has enhanced their resistance to vascular wilt disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum.
KeywordsVascular wilt Fusarium oxysporum Gene silencing Hairpin RNA
We are thankful to the Director, CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur, for support and encouragement during the course of this investigation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This work was financially supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
Conflict of interest
Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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