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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #293265

Title: crw1- A novel maize mutant highly susceptible to foliar damage by the Western corn rootworm beetle

Author
item Venkata, Bala Krishna
item Lauter, Nicholas
item Li, Xu
item Chapple, Clint
item Krupke, Christian
item Johal, Gurmukh
item Moose, Stephen

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2013
Publication Date: 8/9/2013
Citation: Venkata, B., Lauter, N.C., Li, X., Chapple, C., Krupke, C., Johal, G., Moose, S. 2013. crw1- A novel maize mutant highly susceptible to foliar damage by the Western corn rootworm beetle. PLoS One. 8(8):e71296.

Interpretive Summary: The Western corn rootworm beetle (WCR) is the most destructive insect pest of corn in the United States of America, with control expenses and profit losses due to damage totaling more than a billion dollars per year. The majority of crop loss is caused by larval feeding on roots, but adult beetle feeding on corn pollen and silks causes damage through reduced seed set and increased exposure to pathogens. Corn leaves are largely neglected as a food source by WCR beetles, leading to a perception of a passive interaction between the two. We report here a novel genetic variant of corn that was identified and named after its foliar susceptibility to corn rootworm beetles (crw1). The crw1 mutant under field conditions was exceptionally susceptible to foliar damage by WCR beetles in an age-specific manner. It exhibits numerous defects in biological processes that have never before been associated with protecting leaves from herbivore by beetles. The discovery and characterization of this genetic variant provides a unique opportunity for genetic analysis of interactions between maize and adult WCR beetles and may identify new strategies to control the spread and invasion of this destructive pest.

Technical Abstract: Western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera Leconte (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is the most destructive insect pest of corn (Zea mays L) in the United States. The adult WCR beetles derive their nourishment from multiple sources including corn pollen and silks as well as the pollen of alternate hosts. Conversely, the corn foliage is largely neglected as a food source by WCR beetles, leading to a perception of a passive interaction between the two. We report here a novel recessive mutation of corn that was identified and named after its foliar susceptibility to corn rootworm beetles (crw1). The crw1 mutant under field conditions was exceptionally susceptible to foliar damage by WCR beetles in an age-specific manner. It exhibits pleiotropic defects on cell wall biochemistry, morphology of leaf epidermal cells and lower structural integrity via differential accumulation of cell wall bound phenolic acids. These findings indicate that crw1 is perturbed in a pathway that was not previously ascribed to WCR susceptibility, as well as implying the presence of an active mechanism(s) deterring WCR beetles from devouring corn foliage. The discovery and characterization of this mutant provides a unique opportunity for genetic analysis of interactions between maize and adult WCR beetles and identify new strategies to control the spread and invasion of this destructive pest.