RNA interference (RNAi) is being developed for the management of pests that destroy crops. The twospotted Spider Mite (TSSM), Tetranychus urticae is a worldwide pest due to its unique physiological and behavioral characteristics including extraordinary ability to detoxify a wide range of pesticides and feed on many host plants. In this study, we conducted experiments to identify target genes that could be used for the development of RNAi-based methods to control TSSM. Leaf disc feeding assays revealed that knockdown in the expression genes coding for proteins involved in the biosynthesis and action of juvenile hormone (JH) and action of ecdysteroids [Methoprene-tolerant (Met), retinoid X receptor β, farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase, and CREB-binding protein] caused 35–56% mortality. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing hairpin dsRNA targeting Met gene were generated and tested. About 48% mortality was observed in TSSM raised on transgenic tobacco plants expressing dsMet. These studies not only broaden our knowledge on understanding hormone action in TSSM but also identified target genes that could be used in RNAi-mediated control of TSSM.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 8, article no. 14687, p. 1-7.

© The Author(s) 2018

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Research in the S.R.P. laboratory is supported by a grants from the National Institutes of Health (GM070559-12 and 1R21AI131427-01), the National Science Foundation (Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers, the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies under Grant IIP-1338776), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture (under HATCH Project 2351177000).

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The materials used in the experiments and data reported are available upon request.

This is publication number 18-08-086 from the Kentucky Agricultural Experimental Station and published with the approval of the director.