Centre for Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, U.K.
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Accepted 20 June 2005.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful tool for the analysis of gene function in model organisms such as the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Recent demonstrations of RNAi in plant parasitic nematodes provide a stimulus to explore the potential of using RNAi to investigate disruption of gene function in Meloidogyne incognita, one of the most important nematode pests of global agriculture. We have used RNAi to examine the importance of dual oxidases (peroxidase and NADPH oxidase), a class of enzyme associated with extracellular matrix cross-linking in C. elegans. RNAi uptake by M. incognita juveniles is highly efficient. In planta infection data show that a single 4-h preinfection treatment with double-stranded RNA derived from the peroxidase region of a dual oxidase gene has effects on gene expression that are phenotypically observable 35 days postinfection. This RNAi effect results in a reduction in egg numbers at 35 days of up to 70%. The in vitro feeding strategy provides a powerful tool for identifying functionally important genes, including those that are potential targets for the development of new agrochemicals or transgenic resistance strategies.
© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society