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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

RNAi-mediated silencing of the autophagy-related gene NlATG3 inhibits survival and fecundity of the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens

Ye, Chenglong; Feng, Yalin; Yu, Feifei; Jiao, Qiqi; Wu, Jiangen; Ye, Zihong; Zhang, Pengjun; Sun, Chuanxin; Pang, Kun; Hao, Peiying; Yu, Xiaoping


BACKGROUND The brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens, is a serious insect pest of rice. Autophagy and its related gene ATG3 play multiple roles in insects. However, information about the functions of ATG3 in BPH (NlATG3) is unavailable, and its potential as a target for pest control remains unclear. RESULTS RT-qPCR results showed a relatively low expression of NlATG3 in 1st-4th-instar nymphs, which increased through 9-day-old adults. The expression of NlATG3 increased continuously in 1-day-old through 5-day-old eggs, whereas it decreased thereafter. The mRNA level of NlATG3 was markedly higher in the ovary (1.16) and head (1.00) compared to the rest body parts of BPH adults. Injecting nymphs with dsNlATG3 at doses from 62.5 to 250 ng per insect had strong lethal effect upon them. For the 5th-instar nymphs, all individuals died within 5 days after receiving the dsNlATG3, and importantly, no individual successfully molted. Transmission electron microscopy revealed the new cuticle of nymphs injected with dsNlATG3 became loose and curved, which is clearly different from that of the control. Correspondingly, the obvious vesicles in epidermal cells disappeared after dsNlATG3-treatment. RNAi of NlATG3 significantly reduced the total number of eggs laid per female as well as the eggs' hatchability, especially in the dsNlATG3 female x dsGFP male group, whose total number of eggs laid per female largely decreased by 80.4%, and whose eggs' hatchability was significantly reduced from 95.7% to zero, when compared with the control (dsGFP female x dsGFP male). CONCLUSION NlATG3 is a promising target for developing RNAi-based insect management strategies.


Nilaparvata lugens; autophagy; NlATG3; survival; fecundity; RNAi

Published in

Pest Management Science
2021, volume: 77, number: 10, pages: 4658-4668

Authors' information

Ye, Chenglong
China Jiliang University
Feng, Yalin
China Jiliang University
Yu, Feifei
China Jiliang University
Jiao, Qiqi
China Jiliang University
Wu, Jiangen
China Jiliang University
Ye, Zihong
China Jiliang University
Zhang, Pengjun
China Jiliang University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Pang, Kun
China Jiliang University
Hao, Peiying
China Jiliang University
Yu, Xiaoping
China Jiliang University

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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