Submitted to: Plant and Animal Genome Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2010
Publication Date: January 14, 2011
Citation: Williams, C.E., Shukle, R.H., Subramanyam, S. 2011. Toxin Production as a Wheat Defense Strategy against Hessian fly. Plant and Animal Genome Conference Proceedings. http:www.intl-pag.org/. Technical Abstract: Hessian fly (Mayetiola destructor) is one of the major insect pests of wheat (Triticum spp.), with severe infestations leading to complete loss of seed set. Currently, the most effective control of this pest is deployment of host-plant resistance (R) genes in wheat. However, this strategy is challenged by constantly evolving virulent Hessian fly populations highlighting the urgency of developing new alternate strategies to increase durability of resistance. Use of transgenes encoding toxic defense proteins expressed specifically at the insect feeding site has great potential for extending resistance when combined with the deployment of R genes. However, the level of toxicity of various defense proteins/toxins or antinutrients on the mortality of the Hessian fly larvae needs to be assessed before embarking on such a strategy. A major challenge to delivering and testing antinutrients is that Hessian fly larvae are obligate parasites and cannot be raised on artificial diets. We have developed a unique in planta delivery system that makes toxic proteins and antinutrients accessible to Hessian fly larvae and allows us to evaluate the toxicity of the tested molecules. Our strategy enables the identification of potential toxic defense proteins that can be used to generate transgenic resistance in wheat against the Hessian fly, as well as other devastating insect pests.