Project Details:

Pathogenic viruses of soybean cyst nematode as potential bio-control agents

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board
Organization Project Code:19-102-R
Project Year:2019
Lead Principal Investigator:Reza Hajimorad (University of Tennessee-Institute of Agriculture)
Co-Principal Investigators:

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Project Summary

Pathogenic viruses are being used successfully for biocontrol of invasive insect pests, weeds and animals. Many of these viruses have been known for more than a century and their relationships to, and effect on, their hosts are well known. In contrast, viruses naturally infecting nematodes were discovered only in 2011; hence, the science of Nematode Virology is only seven years old. To date, only a total of nine distinct viruses have been identified from all nematodes investigated worldwide, including those isolated from soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Pathogenic viruses of nematodes could be used directly as bionematicides while experimentally amenable non-pathogenic viruses could be genetically modified for the same purpose. The overall goal of this research is to take advantage of the contemporary Sciences of Virology, Nematology, Genomics, Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology to identify viruses pathogenic to SCN in particular those amenable to genetic manipulation.

This is an understudies research area with strong potential for attracting future funds for development of virus-based bionematicides against SCN. The immediate goal is to assess the impact of a recently discovered virus in our laboratory from sugar beet cyst nematode (i.e Sugar Beet Cyst Nematode Virus 1; SBCNV1) on SCN and to develop it as a genetic tool for characterization of essential SCN genes involved in various life-stages such as growth and pathogenicity. It is well documented that virus-based genetic systems have facilitated advances in cell biology and functional genomics of both animals and plants.

Project Objectives

Objective 1. Evaluation of pathogenicity of SBCNV1 on various stage of SCN.
Objective 2. Evaluation of Caenorhabditis elegans as a possible experimental host for SBCNV1.
Objective 3. Synthesis of an infectious clone of SBCNV1. Obtaining an infectious filtrate, or purified virions, requires relatively large-scale culture of SBCN maintained continuously in a greenhouse.

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