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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #427606

Research Project: Targeting Essential Metabolic and Parasitism Genes of the Root-lesion Nematode to Develop Nematode-resistant Plants

Location: Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-21000-268-13-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 15, 2014
End Date: Sep 14, 2019

Objective 1: Determine the specific genes of Pratylenchus penetrans, Glycine max and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) involved in the parasitism of root-lesion nematode (RLN). Elucidate key genes and processes involved in host resistance and RLN pathogenicity. Select essential metabolic and parasitism genes of RLN that could be targeted for nematode control. Objective 2: Characterize two biotechnological strategies against RLN for resistance in lilies. 1) Study the potential of inducing an effective host resistance against RLN through RNA-mediated interference technology (RNAi); 2) Study the potential of dietary overexpressing proteins, such as cysteine proteinase inhibitors (cystatins) and Bacillus thuringiensis crystal proteins, in planta.

Large-scale transcriptome data generated from infected Glycine max and Pratylenchus penetrans as a plant-nematode model is under investigation to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which root-lesion nematodes interact with host plants. De novo assembly of P. penetrans contigs has been generated and analyzed. The total Pratylenchus retrieved sequences are under scrutiny. Mapping genomic coordinates of known RNAi lethal phenotypes in C. elegans onto such sequences will be used to develop dsRNAi candidate targets, and tested against P. penetrans. The identification of putative related-parasitism genes using BLAST search analysis will be also conducted against public genome datasets of plant-parasitic nematodes. Specific research directions will be evaluated and prioritized as they are encountered, i.e., high priority will be given to candidate genes that will most likely contribute to essential metabolic and parasitism pathways of the nematode. In addition, several cystatin and Bacillus thuringiensis crystal proteins have been cloned, and in planta overexpression of these genes will be evaluated against P. penetrans. The most promising candidates will be used to develop resistant lily plants.