RNA interference (RNAi)-based host-induced gene silencing (HIGS) is emerging as a novel, efficient and target-specific tool to combat phytonematode infection in crop plants.

Mi-msp-1, an effector gene expressed in the subventral pharyngeal gland cells of Meloidogyne incognita plays an important role in the parasitic process. Mi-msp-1 effector is conserved in few of the species of root-knot nematodes (RKNs) and does not share considerable homology with the other phytonematodes, thereby making it a suitable target for HIGS with minimal off-target effects. Six putative eggplant transformants harbouring a single copy RNAi transgene of Mi-msp-1 was generated. Stable expression of the transgene was detected in T1, T2 and T3 transgenic lines for which a detrimental effect on RKN penetration, development and reproduction was documented upon challenge infection with nematode juveniles. The post-parasitic nematode stages extracted from the transgenic plants showed long-term RNAi effect in terms of targeted downregulation of Mi-msp-1. These findings suggest that HIGS of Mi-msp-1 enhances nematode resistance in eggplant and protect the plant against RKN parasitism at very early stage.

 

See: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11248-019-00126-5