Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


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Serba, D.D.; Meng, X.; Schnable, J.; Bashir, E.; Michaud, J.P.; Vara Prasad, P.V.; Perumal, R. Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Genetic Mechanisms of Sugarcane Aphid Resistance in Grain Sorghum. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 7129. ijms22137129




The sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari (Zehntner) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) (SCA), has become a major pest of grain sorghum since its appearance in the USA. Several grain sorghum parental lines are moderately resistant to the SCA. However, the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying this resistance are poorly understood, which has constrained breeding for improved resistance. RNA-Seq was used to conduct transcriptomics analysis on a moderately resistant genotype (TAM428) and a susceptible genotype (Tx2737) to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying resistance. Differential expression analysis revealed differences in transcriptomic profile between the two genotypes at multiple time points after infestation by SCA. Six gene clusters had differential expression during SCA infestation. Gene ontology enrichment and cluster analysis of genes differentially expressed after SCA infestation revealed consistent upregulation of genes controlling protein and lipid binding, cellular catabolic processes, transcription initiation, and autophagy in the resistant genotype. Genes regulating responses to external stimuli and stress, cell communication, and transferase activities, were all upregulated in later stages of infestation. On the other hand, expression of genes controlling cell cycle and nuclear division were reduced after SCA infestation in the resistant genotype. These results indicate that different classes of genes, including stress response genes and transcription factors, are responsible for countering the physiological effects of SCA infestation in resistant sorghum plants.