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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #442959

Research Project: Studies of Genetic Mechanisms of Sorghum Resistance to Aphids

Location: Peanut and Small Grains Research

Project Number: 3070-21000-009-033-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

Objective:
Analyze reactions of sorghum plants in responding to aphid attack using genetic and genomic approaches, identify differential genes and expression products, and elucidate genetic mechanisms of host plant resistance to aphid pests in sorghum.

Approach:
The plant resistance system is so sophisticated and complicated, which can be explained at various levels ranging from genetics, molecular biology to biochemistry. During the last decade, high-throughput experimental and data processing technologies have been applied to and significantly speeded up plant genomic research. To take the advantages of those newly-developed technologies, we will conduct high-throughput analyses of plant reactions to the pest using the omics tools. This project is based on the development of gene expression profiling of the host plants challenged by aphids using transcriptomic approach, which offer us the insights into the initial action of sorghum genes at the genome-wide in response to aphid attack. The next step will focus on proteomic analysis of both resistant and susceptible lines to identify both differential gene expression in those lines at the protein level and regulatory factors responsible for the regulation of the defense pathways in the host plants. Later, we will use a metabolomic approach to identify altered expression of metabolites which may play important roles as plant defense products. Finally, the gene expression data from the three types of the above-designed experiments will be combined, compared, and interpreted. In this way, the integration of data from the multiple levels of gene expression will lead to synergistic interpretation, and lead to identification of both the key genes for aphid resistance and the interplay between transcriptional analysis of protein factors and gene-expression changes and between levels of metabolizing enzymes and the production or elimination of metabolites, which play important roles in host plant defense. It is anticipated that the information generated from this project will offer new insights into the mechanisms of host plant resistance against aphids, a key pest on sorghum, which will contribute to effective control and management of cereal aphids for field crops.