Departmental Papers (Dental)

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Journal Article

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Plant Biotechnology Journal





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The whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) causes tremendous damage to cotton production worldwide. However, very limited information is available about how plants perceive and defend themselves from this destructive pest. In this study, the transcriptomic differences between two cotton cultivars that exhibit either strong resistance (HR) or sensitivity (ZS) to whitefly were compared at different time points (0, 12, 24 and 48 h after infection) using RNA‐Seq. Approximately one billion paired‐end reads were obtained by Illumina sequencing technology. Gene ontology and KEGG pathway analysis indicated that the cotton transcriptional response to whitefly infestation involves genes encoding protein kinases, transcription factors, metabolite synthesis, and phytohormone signalling. Furthermore, a weighted gene co‐expression network constructed from RNA‐Seq datasets showed that WRKY40 and copper transport protein are hub genes that may regulate cotton defenses to whitefly infestation. Silencing GhMPK3 by virus‐induced gene silencing (VIGS) resulted in suppression of the MPK‐WRKY‐JA and ET pathways and lead to enhanced whitefly susceptibility, suggesting that the candidate insect resistant genes identified in this RNA‐Seq analysis are credible and offer significant utility. Taken together, this study provides comprehensive insights into the cotton defense system to whitefly infestation and has identified several candidate genes for control of phloem‐feeding pests.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Li, J., Zhu, L., Hull, J. J., Liang, S., Daniell, H., Jin, S., & Zhang, X. (2016). Transcriptome analysis reveals a comprehensive insect resistance response mechanism in cotton to infestation by the phloem feeding insect Bemisia tabaci (whitefly). Plant Biotechnology Journal, 14(10), 1956–1975., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving


cotton, whitefly, RNA‐Seq, DEGs, co‐expression, transcription factor

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Dentistry Commons



Date Posted: 01 March 2022

This document has been peer reviewed.