1st Place - Empirical - Undergraduate
Pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum , are a significant pest to legumes Febaceae throughout the world, primarily due to the species serving as a vector to many Febaceae viruses. Current management of A. pisum includes use of insecticides and the introduction of natural predators, neither of which is ideal because it can have detrimental effects on organisms other than A. pisum . The utilization of RNA Interference (RNAi) presents an alternative, pest specific targeting of A. pisum . X Box Binding Protein 1 (XBP1) is involved in the regulation of the unfolded protein response to promote proper folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). RNAi targeting the XBP1 gene could result in the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER lumen, which downstream results in death of the cell and organism. RNA was isolated from A. pisum and reverse transcribed to synthesize cDNA. The cDNA was used as a template for XBP1 primers to synthesize XBP1 dsRNA for use in RNAi feeding studies. RNA interference of XBP1 resulted in a fifty percent decrease in fecundity and a thirty percent decrease in survival of Acyrthosiphon pisum . RNA interference of XBP1 has shown to be a promising alternative to the management of A. pisum
Lutgen, Jacob; Ridder, Jared; and Balthazor, James, "RNA Interference of X Box Binding Protein 1 in Acyrthosiphon pisum" (2019). 2019 SACAD Winners. 7.