Efficacy of arginine kinase as a promising RNAi target in Aphis gossypii genome as revealed through aphid bioassay on field-grown transgenic cotton plants.
Iqra Yousaf 1, B,D
Bushra Tabassum 2, A,E-F
Anwar Khan 4, B
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Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of the Punjab Lahore, Pakistan
School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab Lahore Pakistan, Pakistan
Biotechnology, The University of Lahore, Pakistan
Department of Microbiology, The Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering, and Management Sciences, Pakistan
Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama Huntsville, USA, United States
A - Research concept and design; B - Collection and/or assembly of data; C - Data analysis and interpretation; D - Writing the article; E - Critical revision of the article; F - Final approval of article
Submission date: 2024-01-16
Acceptance date: 2024-04-03
Online publication date: 2024-04-15
Corresponding author
Bushra Tabassum   

School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab Lahore Pakistan, Quaid e Azam campus, 54590, Lahore, Pakistan
  • 1. Arginine kinase is an important RNAi target in Aphis gossypii genome and, can be exploited as aphid control strategy.
  • 2. Transgenic cotton lines expressing dsRNA targeted against A. gossypii showed upto 73% aphid mortality.
  • 3. Plant-mediated RNAi exhibit significant downregulation of arginine kinase in Aphis gossypii during bioassay.
The cotton aphid Aphis gossypii is a major agricultural pest of cotton that causes substantial damage to the crop not only by sucking sap but also through virus transmission. Globally adopted traditional and contemporary approaches to control aphid infestation have certain limitations and are hazardous to human health. RNA interference (RNAi) technology has unfolded its potential as an effective crop protection strategy against various pests. In this study, we adopted plant-mediated RNAi strategy to enhance aphid resistance in cotton by targeting arginine kinase (AK), which is a crucial enzyme responsible for energy homeostasis in insects. We selected a 312bp dsRNA fragment containing eight siRNAs and showing optimum GC content, Hb index, and stable secondary structure based on computational prediction studies. The binary construct expressing dsRNA was used to transform local cotton variety MNH886 and four transgenic lines were obtained in the T1 generation. Out of the four T1 transgenic cotton lines, dsA-7 exhibited the highest aphid mortality (73.3%), whereas, dsA-1, dsA-3 and dsA-6 revealed 60%, 61%, and 66.6% aphid mortality, respectively, in comparison to 13.3% mortality in the mock control cotton line. Moreover, significant knockdown in mRNA expression of AK was observed in aphids fed dsA-7 which was 79%. In comparison, 54%, 47%, and 45% downregulation was recorded in aphids which fed on dsA-6, dsA-3, and dsA-1 transgenic cotton lines, respectively. These results revealed that plant-mediated downregulation of aphid RNA induced significant RNA interference in A. gossypii which resulted in considerable aphid mortality and led to plant protection against aphids.
The authors have declared that no conflict of interests exist.
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