Broad Meloidogyne Resistance in Potato Based on RNA Interference of Effector Gene 16D10

Phuong T.Y. Dinh, Linhai Zhang, Hassan Mojtahedi, Charles R. Brown, Axel A. Elling


Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are a significant problem in potato (Solanum tuberosum) production. There is no potato cultivar with Meloidogyne resistance, even though resistance genes have been identified in wild potato species and were introgressed into breeding lines. The objectives of this study were to generate stable transgenic potato lines in a cv. Russet Burbank background that carry an RNA interference (RNAi) transgene capable of silencing the 16D10 Meloidogyne effector gene, and test for resistance against some of the most important root-knot nematode species affecting potato, i.e., M. arenaria, M. chitwoodi, M. hapla, M. incognita, and M. javanica. At 35 days after inoculation (DAI), the number of egg masses per plant was significantly reduced by 65% to 97% (P < 0.05) in the RNAi line compared to wild type and empty vector controls. The largest reduction was observed in M. hapla, whereas the smallest reduction occurred in M. javanica. Likewise, the number of eggs per plant was significantly reduced by 66% to 87% in M. arenaria and M. hapla, respectively, compared to wild type and empty vector controls (P < 0.05). Plant-mediated RNAi silencing of the 16D10 effector gene resulted in significant resistance against all of the root-knot nematode species tested, whereas RMc1(blb), the only known Meloidogyne resistance gene in potato, did not have a broad resistance effect. Silencing of 16D10 did not interfere with the attraction of M. incognita second-stage juveniles to roots, nor did it reduce root invasion.

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