Pesticide resistance in pests drives the development of RNA interference (RNAi)-based technology as a novel approach for pest control. To investigate the effects of the positional dependency of double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs), we newly designed four different 200 bp dsRNAs targeting Colorado potato beetle (CPB) β-Actin gene, termed as dsACT200-1 to dsACT200-4, to compare their insecticidal activity to CPB larvae together with our previously used 200 bp and 700 bp dsRNAs (dsACT200 and dsACT700), respectively (He et al., 2020a). Each of dsRNAs harbors different numbers of expected siRNAs predicted by sequence-based prediction platform, dsACT200 and dsACT200-2 have a relatively higher number of siRNA than other 200 bps dsRNAs. When CPB larvae were fed with in vitro synthesized dsRNA-painted potato leaves, all the tested dsRNAs showed significant effects to protect against CPB larvae. Combined with the survival rate of CPB larvae, β-Actin gene expression level and the surviving CPB larvae weight, various positional dsRNAs from the same allele showed different plant protection activity against CPB larvae and partially correlated with the predicted siRNA numbers and distribution on the target sequence. This study suggests the specific allelic locus for rational dsRNA design triggering RNAi efficiency for target gene silencing is an essential factor in enhancing the insecticidal activity.
Keywords: Colorado potato beetle; Foliar application; Positional effects; Potato; RNAi; dsRNA.
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