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Plant-pest interactions


Lingling Gao, Lars Kamphuis, Silke Jacques, Karam Singh

Aphids are ubiquitous sap-sucking insect pests with over 4,000 species causing substantial yield losses to agriculture worldwide. Damage is caused both by direct feeding, thereby draining plant nutrients from the phloem and as major vectors for disease transmission, transmitting over 50% of all plant viruses. Resistance to aphids has been identified in a number of plant species, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying aphid resistance remain largely unknown. The aim of our research is to identify key genes and pathways which are responsible for aphid resistance.

The focus of our research is on a pair of near isogenic lines of the model legume Medicago truncatula; A17 (susceptible) and Jester (resistant) in which single dominant genes provide resistance to bluegreen aphid (BGA), pea aphid (PA) and spotted alfalfa aphid (SAA). Applying and developing a range of techniques both on the plant and aphid side of the interaction enables us to start dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying plant resistance and those employed by aphids to evade these defences.

Selected publications