Crop Biotech Update

Host-Induced Gene Silencing of VdRGS1 Confers Resistance to Verticillium Wilt in Cotton

March 7, 2018

Verticillium wilt (VW) of cotton is a highly devastating vascular disease. However, few resistant germplasms have been reported in cotton. An increasing number of studies have shown that RNA interference (RNAi) host-induced gene silencing (HIGS) is effective for improving plant resistance to pathogens by silencing genes essential to their pathogenicity.

The team of Jun Xu of Nanjing Agricultural University identified regulators of G protein signalling (RGS) in the Verticillium dahliae virulence strain, Vd8. Out of the eight VdRGS identified genes, VdRGS1 showed the most significant increase in expression in V. dahliae after infecting roots of cotton seedlings. Analysis found that VdRGS1 played crucial roles in Verticillium's pathogenicity. RNAi-HIGS of VdRGS1 in cotton strains enhanced broad-spectrum resistance to VW caused by V. dahliae.

RNAi of VdRGS1 demonstrates that VdRGS1 is an essential gene for V. dahliae virulence. It also provides effective control against V. dahliae infection and could confer durable disease resistance in cotton and in other VW-susceptible host crops.

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.