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Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(11):1296-1305. doi:10.7150/ijbs.12463

Research Paper

Transgenic Cotton Plants Expressing Double-stranded RNAs Target HMG-CoA Reductase (HMGR) Gene Inhibits the Growth, Development and Survival of Cotton Bollworms

Geng Tian, Linlin Cheng, Xuewei Qi, Zonghe Ge, Changying Niu, Xianlong Zhang, Shuangxia Jin

College of Plant Science and Technology, National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei 430070, P.R. China

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) has been developed as a powerful technique in the research of functional genomics as well as plant pest control. In this report, double-stranded RNAs (dsRNA) targeting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMGR) gene, which catalyze a rate-limiting enzymatic reaction in the mevalonate pathway of juvenile hormone (JH) synthesis in cotton bollworm, was expressed in cotton plants via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. PCR and Sothern analysis revealed the integration of HMGR gene into cotton genome. RT-PCR and qRT-PCR confirmed the high transcription level of dsHMGR in transgenic cotton lines. The HMGR expression both in transcription and translation level was significantly downregulated in cotton bollworms (helicoverpa armigera) larvae after feeding on the leaves of HMGR transgenic plants. The transcription level of HMGR gene in larvae reared on transgenic cotton leaves was as much as 80.68% lower than that of wild type. In addition, the relative expression level of vitellogenin (Vg, crucial source of nourishment for offspring embryo development) gene was also reduced by 76.86% when the insect larvae were fed with transgenic leaves. The result of insect bioassays showed that the transgenic plant harboring dsHMGR not only inhibited net weight gain but also delayed the growth of cotton bollworm larvae. Taken together, transgenic cotton plant expressing dsRNAs successfully downregulated HMGR gene and impaired the development and survival of target insect, which provided more option for plant pest control.

Keywords: 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase(HMGR), cotton bollworm, RNA interference, transgenic cotton, double-stranded RNAs, pest control.

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How to cite this article:
Tian G, Cheng L, Qi X, Ge Z, Niu C, Zhang X, Jin S. Transgenic Cotton Plants Expressing Double-stranded RNAs Target HMG-CoA Reductase (HMGR) Gene Inhibits the Growth, Development and Survival of Cotton Bollworms. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(11):1296-1305. doi:10.7150/ijbs.12463. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v11p1296.htm