The Purdue and USDA research team developed a method to test toxins from other plants on Hessian fly larvae. The test simulates the effect of a transgenic plant without the lengthy and costly procedures necessary to actually create those plants.
"For years, people have tried to develop a bioassay, but that hadn't happened until now," said Richard Shukle, a research scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit working in Purdue Entomology, whose findings were published in the Journal of Insect Physiology.
Shukle said the 33 genes known to give wheat resistance to Hessian fly attacks have been failing, causing scientists to develop methods to stack those genes together as a defense. But another solution could include adding other plants' toxins to wheat to bolster its defenses.
The problem has been with the unique way in which Hessian fly larvae attack and feed off wheat. The larvae secrete a substance onto the plants that creates a sort of wound on the plant tissue, opening it up for the larvae to feed on.
Toxins can be tested on other pests by adding those toxins to a plant-based artificial diet and feeding them to the insects. But Hessian fly larvae won't take the bait, meaning that until now the only way to test poisons from other plants was to create lines of transgenic wheat and feed them to the flies.
"This feeding assay is significant. This gives us a way to test these toxins," said Christie Williams, a co-author of the findings and a research scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service Crop Production and Pest Control Research Unit working in Purdue Entomology. "A preliminary chemical assay might give us promising results. But then you could go to all the trouble of making a transgenic plant based on that chemical test and have it not work."
To get the toxins into the fly larvae, the scientists allowed Hessian flies to lay eggs on the leaves of seedling wheat plants. When the eggs hatched, the plants were taken from the soil, their roots cleaned and trimmed, and then replanted as hydroponics with the toxic proteins added to the plants' water.
"The plant is just acting like a big straw taking up the toxins," Williams said. "It's just like putting a carnation into a cup of colored water and watching the flower change colors."
When the fly larvae attacked and fed as usual, they were also ingesting the toxins that were taken up through the water.
"We knew they would feed on the plant," said Subhashree Subramanyam, a Purdue agronomy research associate. "So we used the plant as the translocation medium."
Protein immunoblot detection tests, which use antibodies to detect the presence of a particular protein, showed that the larvae had ingested the toxins added to the water.
The team tested nine lectins ¨l antinutrient proteins that disrupt digestive function. In particular, Hessian fly larvae responded to snowdrop lectin, which comes from snowdrop bulbs, a flowering plant.
Larvae that ingested the snowdrop lectin developed only half as fast as the control larvae. There was also evidence of disruption of the microvilli ¨l fingerlike extensions in the midgut that aid in nutrient uptake.
"It is possible that snowdrop lectin, by itself, could give wheat better resistance to the Hessian fly," Shukle said.
The scientists plan to have a transgenic version of the wheat developed for further testing. The USDA funded their work.
A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2011/shukle-hessianlarvae.jpg
Abstract for the research in this release is available at: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/111212ShukleTransgenic.html
Brian Wallheimer | EurekAlert!
BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences