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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Deciphering changes in plant physiological response to whitefly feeding using microarray technology

item Mckenzie, Cindy
item Sinisterra, Xiomara
item Powell, Charles
item Albano, Joseph
item Bausher, Michael
item Shatters, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2004
Publication Date: 11/1/2005
Citation: Sinisterra, X.H., Powell, C.A., Bausher, M.G., Albano, J.P., Shatters, Jr., R.G. 2006. Deciphering changes in plant physiological response to whitefly feeding using microarray technology. Acta Horticulturae.(ISHS)695:347-352.

Interpretive Summary: Microarray technology was successfully applied to tomato as a model system using silverleaf whitefly feeding as the treatment. RNA profiling results indicated 277 genes were up or down regulated in response to whitefly feeding and based on sequence similarity analysis we determined that selected genes were likely to be involved in developmental regulation, stress response, wound response, and ethylene production. Future studies will look at gene expression over time in tomato plants subjected to a moderate infestation of whitefly, resulting in the development of tomato irregular ripening disorder (TIR). Identifying genes associated with the disorder will provide insight into the true nature of the disorder and possible treatments to prevent it. This will provide breeders with genetic markers that are associated with plant characteristics. Eventually, identification of genes associated with many desirable horticultural characteristics such as fruit size, fruit shape, fruit sugar content, flower production, plant height, and plant vigor will be possible. The gene array technology will also be used to identify natural genes for disease and insect resistance that can be incorporated into saleable varieties by breeding. This new approach will also allow us to examine transgenic plants for both beneficial and possible adverse effects on tomato production. Adapting gene array technology to study TIR will result in better quality, more disease-free tomato plants and fruit, thereby increasing productivity and profitability.

Technical Abstract: Gene array technology was applied to tomato as a model system to examine plant physiological response to silverleaf whitefly (SLW), Bemisia argentifolii (a.k.a. Bemisia tabaci biotype B) feeding. Our objective was to study gene expression in tomato plants subjected to a moderate infestation of whitefly. Plants were destructively harvested 25 days after infestation and samples of old and young leaves, stems, roots, flowers and fruit from tomato with and without whitefly were processed for nutritional analysis and RNA extraction for microarray analysis. RNA was labeled and hybridized to the gene array membrane to determine which genes SLW feeding influences. At 25 days after infestation, no discernable differences could be detected between plants with and without whitefly with the exception of uninfested plants possessing more flower buds. Whitefly pressure at harvest was moderate: 0.25 eggs per 50 mm2, 0.04 nymphs per 50 mm2 and 0.52 adult whiteflies per leaflet. Plant nutritional profiles for plants with and without whitefly were not significantly different and were adequate for tomato production.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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