Lipid-Mediated Signaling Govern Maize Resistance To Below- and Above-Ground Insect Herbivores
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The proposed project will gain knowledge of oxylipin-based insect defense signaling in maize, a domestically and globally fundamental crop -- in both economic and scientific contexts, and in doing so will advance the development of novel, environmentally friendly host plant resistance strategies. Crop pest management is effective when it relies on diverse strategies, including host resistance. This proposal focuses on maize and two important pests, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (western corn rootworm, WCR) and Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm, FAW), and will facilitate the development of novel host plant resistance tactics. The project will utilize a unique suite of near-isogenic wild-type and mutant maize lines that contrast in their insect resistance to elucidate the roles of oxylipins, a group of potent lipid signals generated by lipoxygenase (LOX) and oxo-phytodienoate reductase (OPR) genes during herbivory defense. Outcomes will identify novel oxylipin signals that govern resistance mechanisms and provide novel gene targets to enhancing maize resistance to insects.Three objectives will be pursued: i) Screen wild-type or mutant near-isogenic lines in nearly all maize LOX and OPR genes comparing the performances of WCR and FAW; ii) Identify oxylipin signals and downstream metabolites responsible for increased/decreased resistance observed in selected mutants, and; iii) Test the feasibility of improving resistance by introgression of naturally occurring duplicated copies of defense-related LOX genes into B73 inbred line.This project represents a unique possibility to elucidate, compare, and contrast the defense mechanisms against both below- and above-ground herbivory, which are typically studied by separate research teams.This project represents a unique possibility to elucidate, compare, and contrast the defense mechanisms against both below- and above-ground herbivory, which are typically studied by separate research teams.