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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 29, 2009; 106(52): 22163–22168.
Published online Dec 14, 2009. doi:  10.1073/pnas.0912139106
PMCID: PMC2793316
Agricultural Sciences

Identification and characterization of Bph14, a gene conferring resistance to brown planthopper in rice

Abstract

Planthoppers are highly destructive pests in crop production worldwide. Brown planthopper (BPH) causes the most serious damage of the rice crop globally among all rice pests. Growing resistant varieties is the most effective and environment-friendly strategy for protecting the crop from BPH. More than 19 BPH-resistance genes have been reported and used to various extents in rice breeding and production. In this study, we cloned Bph14, a gene conferring resistance to BPH at seedling and maturity stages of the rice plant, using a map-base cloning approach. We show that Bph14 encodes a coiled-coil, nucleotide-binding, and leucine-rich repeat (CC-NB-LRR) protein. Sequence comparison indicates that Bph14 carries a unique LRR domain that might function in recognition of the BPH insect invasion and activating the defense response. Bph14 is predominantly expressed in vascular bundles, the site of BPH feeding. Expression of Bph14 activates the salicylic acid signaling pathway and induces callose deposition in phloem cells and trypsin inhibitor production after planthopper infestation, thus reducing the feeding, growth rate, and longevity of the BPH insects. Our work provides insights into the molecular mechanisms of rice defense against insects and facilitates the development of resistant varieties to control this devastating insect.

Keywords: herbivore, insect-resistance gene, CC-NB-LRR protein, antibiosis, salicyclic acid signaling

Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a primary staple food crop for billions of people worldwide. To ensure global food security for continuing population growth, it is vital to control the various insect pests that damage rice (1). Among the herbivorous rice insects, the brown planthopper (BPH) (Nilaparvata lugens Stål) is the most destructive pest to rice production. Brown planthopper is a rice-specific herbivore and sucks the phloem sap of rice plants through its stylet mouthparts. Light planthopper infestation reduces plant height, growth vigor, and the number of productive tillers, whereas heavy infestation causes complete drying of the crop, a condition known as “hopperburn” (2). BPH also serves as a vector that transmits rice grassy stunt virus and ragged stunt virus, which are serious diseases in the tropical region (3). In recent years, BPH infestations have intensified across Asia, causing heavy rice yield losses (1). As the popular rice varieties are susceptible to planthoppers, farmers depend solely on chemical pesticides for controlling this insect, which are expensive in terms of labor, cost, and the environment. In addition, overuse of pesticides destroys the natural predators and leads to the insect developing resistance, which results in pest resurgence (4). The most economical and environment-friendly strategy to control this insect is to grow genetically resistant rice varieties (5).

The host resistance of rice against BPH was first reported for the variety Mudgo in 1969 (6). Most studies indicated that the resistant rice varieties suppressed the weight gain of insects and maintained low BPH populations across multiple generations and in a large rice production area (7, 8). In addition, the ratios of predators to BPH insects were most often highest in the highly resistant varieties and lowest in susceptible varieties. The yields of the resistant varieties were significantly higher than those of susceptible varieties (9). Therefore, resistant varieties are important “insurance” for farmers against BPH in integrative pest management. Up to now, 19 BPH-resistance genes have been identified and assigned to rice chromosomes in cultivated and wild rice species (10) and some have been incorporated into rice varieties and released in rice production (8, 9), but none of these BPH-resistance genes has been cloned thus far.

Molecular responses of plants to herbivores are strongly correlated with the mode of feeding and the degree of tissue damage at the feeding site. For the chewing insects that cause extensive damage to plant foliage, it is clear now that the elicitors like volicitin in the oral secretions of insects trigger the direct and indirect defenses (11, 12), via a wound-signaling pathway in which jasmonic acid (JA) plays a central role (13). In contrast, less is known about molecular responses of plants to sucking insects that produce little tissue damage to the host plant. The only insect-resistance gene that has been cloned in plants is the Mi gene of tomato (14) and most studies on plant defense responses to phloem-feeding insects have focused on aphids and whiteflies (13, 15, 16). The results of these studies suggest that plant defenses against aphids and whiteflies are similar to those against pathogens. The interaction between rice and BPH has the potential to serve as a model system for understanding the molecular basis of plant defense against phloem-feeding insects. Expression profiles showed that the genes significantly affected by BPH feeding in rice covered a wide range of functional categories, including metabolism, cellular transport, macromolecular degradation, signal transduction, and plant defense (1719). These changes in RNA levels suggest that responses of rice to BPH feeding are more similar to pathogen-defense responses than to chewing insect defenses. Although differences in transcript levels between the compatible and incompatible interactions were detected, the BPH-resistance gene-mediated molecular mechanism still remains unknown.

Previously, we mapped two major BPH-resistance genes in rice B5, Bph14 on the long arm of chromosome 3 and Bph15 on the shorter arm of chromosome 4 (20). These loci also showed resistance to the whitebacked planthopper, Sogatella furcifera Horváth (21). Bph14 showed a stable resistance in different genetic backgrounds and thus is valuable in development of resistant rice varieties. This study sought to clone Bph14 by a map-based strategy, revealing that it encodes a coiled-coil, nucleotide-binding, and leucine-rich repeat (CC-NB-LRR) protein. Bph14 is strongly expressed in vascular bundles where the BPH feeds and confers resistance to the BPH insects. In the Bph14-mediated resistance, the salicylic acid (SA) signaling pathway is activated.

Results

Map-Based Cloning of Bph14.

To isolate the Bph14 gene, we developed an F2 mapping population derived from a cross between RI35, a recombinant inbred line containing the Bph14 locus from B5 (22), and Taichuang Native 1 (TN1), a BPH-susceptible indica variety (Fig. S1A). The resistant and susceptible plants segregated in a 3:1 ratio (72:28; χ2 = 0.48; P > 0.90) in the F2 population, indicating that the Bph14 gene as a single Mendelian factor conferred the BPH resistance in RI35 (Fig. S1B). We set out to fine map Bph14 by analyzing 3,700 plants from the F2 population and 5,000 plants from an F5 population of the same cross. This exercise delimited the Bph14 gene to a 34-kb region flanked by markers SM1 and G1318 (Fig. 1A). Two predicted genes encoding putative resistance proteins, designated Ra and Rb, respectively, were identified after sequencing clone 76B10 in this region from the genomic library of resistant rice B5 (Fig. 1B).

Fig. 1.
Map-based cloning and complementation tests of the planthopper-resistance gene Bph14. (A) Fine mapping of the Bph14 locus. The Bph14 locus is located within a 34-kb region of chromosome 3, which contains two predicted genes. Numbers under the linkage ...

To determine which gene was Bph14, we performed the complementation tests. The 9.6- and 9.1-kb genomic fragments containing the predicted Ra and Rb genes with their native promoters, respectively, were transferred into the BPH-susceptible indica variety Kasalath. The T2 families were then examined for BPH resistance, using the bulked seedling test (Fig. 1C). We found that BPH resistance cosegregated with Ra in the transgenic population. The T2 transgenic lines expressing Ra from different independent T0 transformants, which were homozygous for the transgene, clearly showed high resistance to the BPH and survived, whereas the wild-type plants were killed by BPH insects (Fig. 1 C–E). The transgenic plants carrying Rb were also susceptible and killed by the BPHs in the test. In addition, we used RNA interference (RNAi) to suppress the expression of Ra in the RI35 rice plants. The RNAi-transgenic lines were susceptible and were killed by the BPHs in the tests (Fig. S2). Thus, we concluded that Ra confers the resistance phenotype and is the Bph14 gene.

Bph14 Encodes a Unique CC-NB-LRR Protein.

Comparison of the genomic and cDNA sequences of the Bph14 and Rb genes revealed that both consist of three exons and two introns (see Fig. 1B), but Rb is interrupted by a premature stop codon. The Bph14 gene encodes a putative 1,323-aa protein containing a CC-NB-LRR motif (Fig. S3), which shares similarity with proteins encoded by a number of genes for resistance to several diseases (23). Bph14 shares 83% sequence identity with its allele (Os03g0848700) in Nipponbare. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Bph14 is closely related to other rice homologs and is divergent from the majority of known plant disease resistance proteins in other species (Fig. 2A).

Fig. 2.
Molecular characterization of Bph14. (A) Phylogenetic relationships of Bph14 homologs in rice (Os), wheat (Ta), cassava (Me), potato (Sb), tomato (Le), maize (Zm), barley (Hv), and Arabidopsis (At). (Scale bar, 0.1 amino acid substitutions per site.) ...

To investigate whether the resistance of Bph14 is due to the coding sequence or the transcription level, we analyzed the sequences of the Bph14 gene for 21 rice varieties, including 10 indica (4 of which were resistant cultivars carrying different BPH-resistance genes), 7 japonica varieties, and 4 accessions of wild rice, Oryza rufipogon (Table S1). Through comparison of the coding sequences between Bph14 and its alleles, we found that the central motifs of the CC and NB domains are well conserved among the diverse rice materials (Fig. S4 A and B), but in the LRR domain 54 residues and two deletions of Bph14 are unique (Fig. S4C).

RT-PCR analysis showed that the transcripts were present in all of the rice varieties (Fig. S5A). The real-time PCR data further confirmed that the transcript levels were not significantly different in most of the varieties (Fig. S5B). In addition, the expression of Bph14 was enhanced by BPH feeding and was not significantly different between the resistant plant RI35 and the susceptible plant Kasalath (Fig. 2B). These results further support the idea that the sequence variations in the coding region, not the allelic transcription levels, account for the gene being functional in insect resistance.

Expression Analysis of Bph14.

Because BPH insects usually aggregate on the lower parts of rice plants and ingest the phloem sap, we thus studied the tissue specificity of Bph14 expression. We found that Bph14 was expressed constitutively in leaf sheaths, leaf blades, and roots (Fig. 2C). Then we examined Bph14 activity in more detail, using transgenic plants carrying the fusion construct of the Bph14 promoter region and the GUS reporter gene. The expression of GUS in transgenic plants was detected mainly in the vascular tissue of various organs, including leaf sheaths and leaf blades (Fig. 2 E, G, and I). In cross-sections of these organs, GUS activity was strongly detected in the parenchyma cells bordering xylem vessels and sieve tubes (Fig. 2 F, H, and J). Such an expression pattern is consistent with the role of Bph14 in recognizing BPH attack in phloem cells. To determine the subcellular localization of the Bph14 protein, the coding region of Bph14 fused to modified green fluorescent protein (GFP) at the N-terminal end was expressed under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter. Fluorescence was detectable in the cytoplasm in onion epidermal cells following particle bombardment (Fig. 2D).

Bph14 Confers an Antibiosis Resistance to Planthopper.

The transgenic rice plants that express Bph14 survived after BPH infestation at the seedling stage (see Fig. 1 C–E). At the maturing stage, the wild-type plants showed symptoms of stem chlorosis, leaf wilting, reduced fertility, and even death of the whole plant after infestation by BPH, whereas the Bph14-transgenic plants were healthy (Fig. 3A). Generally, plants may employ two resistance strategies against herbivores: antixenosis that affects insect settling, colonization, or oviposition and antibiosis that reduces insect feeding, growth rate, or survival (24). To explore the resistance mechanism of the Bph14-transgenic plants, we investigated the responses of the BPH insects feeding on the resistant Bph14-transgenic and susceptible wild-type plants in terms of host choice, feeding activities, honeydew excretion, population growth rate, nymph survival, and fecundity (Table S2 and Fig. 3). In host choice tests, there was no significant difference in numbers of BPH nymphs that settled on the plants between the transgenics and wild type when observed from 3 to 48 h after infestation (Fig. 3B). Neither was there a difference in number of eggs found on the plants (Fig. 3C). We also recorded in detail the feeding behavior of BPHs on rice plants in real time, employing the electronic penetration graph (EPG) analysis (25). The EPG data showed that there were no significant differences between the transgenic plants and the wild type in the time from the beginning of plant penetration to the first phloem ingestion and the duration of the first phloem ingestion. However, the duration of nonprobing and penetration was significantly longer and the duration of phloem ingestion was clearly shorter on the transgenic plants, compared with the wild-type plants (Fig. 3D). These results showed that BPH feeding was inhibited on the transgenic plants. Honeydew excretion, a simple measurable indicator of BPH feeding activity, was found to be lower on the transgenic plants compared with that on the wild-type plants, consistent with the data of EPG (Fig. 3E). The population growth rate of the insects on the transgenic plants was only one-fifth of that on the wild-type plants (Fig. 3F). There was a pronounced decrease in the survival rate of the insects on the transgenic plants (Fig. 3G). Taken together, these results demonstrate that Bph14 confers a resistance that reduces the feeding, growth rate, and longevity of the BPH insects.

Fig. 3.
Characterization of insect resistance in Bph14-transgenic rice. (A) Planthopper-resistance test of the Bph14-transgenic and wild-type rice at the mature stage. Magnified views show the locations of BPH feeding. (B) Settling of BPH in a host choice test. ...

In further investigation of the possible mechanism of Bph14-mediated resistance, we observed that callose was deposited abundantly on sieve plates and the cell walls of vascular tissue in the Bph14-transgenic plants (Fig. 3H), which is an important defense mechanism that prevents planthoppers from ingesting phloem sap (25). We thus examined the expression patterns of callose synthase-encoding genes and β-1,3-glucanase genes, using real-time PCR. Three callose synthase-encoding genes (GSL1, GSL5, and GSL10) were clearly up-regulated in both the wild-type and transgenic rice plants after BPH infestation. However, the expression of GNS5 and GNS9, the genes encoding callose-hydrolyzing enzyme β-1,3-glucanase, was slightly down-regulated in the transgenic plants, which prevented callose from decomposing and kept the sieve tubes occluded (Fig. S6). In addition, the expression of the Bowman-Birk trypsin inhibitor genes (26) was enhanced in the transgenic plants, whereas the expression of the trypsin gene (27) was suppressed to a greater degree in the BPH insects that fed on the transgenic plants compared to those that fed on the wild-type plants (Fig. S7). These results indicate that callose deposition and trypsin inhibitor production prevent BPH insects from continuously ingesting and digesting phloem sap in the Bph14-transgenic plants.

The SA Pathway Was Activated in the Bph14-Mediated Insect Resistance.

Plant defense responses to insects include the activation of pathways dependent on SA and JA/ethylene signaling molecules (13, 15, 16). To investigate the pathway involved in Bph14-mediated resistance, we examined the transcript levels of defense-responsive genes, which are known to function in SA- and JA/ethylene-dependent pathways during disease resistance in rice (28) (Fig. 4). There was no significant difference between the transgenic and the wild-type plants in transcript levels of the JA synthesis-related genes LOX (lipoxygenase) and AOS2 (allene oxide synthase 2) (13, 28) in 24 h after BPH infestation. At all subsequent time points, however, transcript levels of these genes were substantially lower in the transgenics than in wild-type plants. In addition, the ethylene signaling pathway receptor gene EIN2 (ethylene insensitive 2) (29) accumulated faster and at higher levels in the wild type than in transgenics. These results suggested that BPH feeding induced the defenses in the susceptible plants associated with a JA/ethylene-dependent pathway. However, transcript levels of the SA synthesis-related genes EDS1 (enhanced disease susceptibility 1), PAD4 (phytoalexin deficient 4), PAL (phenylalanine ammonia-lyase), and ICS1 (isochorismate synthase 1) (28) were higher in the transgenic plants than in wild-type plants after BPH infestation, suggesting that Bph14 may activate an SA-dependent resistance pathway after BPH feeding. NPR1 (homolog of Arabidopsis nonexpressor of pathogenesis-related genes 1) is a key regulator of SA-dependent systemic acquired resistance (SAR) that was found to enhance the expression of PR1b (basic pathogenesis-related gene 1) (30). PR1b is suggested to be effective in inhibiting pathogen growth, multiplication, and/or spread and is responsible for the SAR in plants (31). The transcript level of NPR1 was also higher in the transgenic than in the wild-type plants. However, the higher transcript level of NPR1 did not result in stronger induction of PR1b, suggesting that the transcript level of PR1b was regulated by JA/ethylene signal in rice after BPH infestation. These results demonstrate that Bph14 activates a NPR1-dependent, but PR1-independent, resistance after BPH feeding.

Fig. 4.
Expression patterns of plant defense-response genes. EDS1, PAD4, PAL, and ICS1 are the SA synthesis-related genes. NPR1 is a key regulator of SA-dependent systemic acquired resistance. LOX and AOS2 are the JA synthesis-related genes. PR1b is pathogen-related ...

Discussion

At present, insect pests are becoming more epidemic and destructive as a result of changes in climate and crop systems (32). Despite the importance of the development of resistant varieties to control insects, knowledge of the function of the insect-resistance gene and the molecular mechanism of host resistance is very limited in the literature. This study identified Bph14 by map-based cloning and elucidated the molecular basis of Bph14-mediated resistance against planthoppers in rice.

Our results reveal that the BPH-resistance gene Bph14 is a member of the CC-NB-LRR disease resistance gene family, which is known to mediate resistance through direct or indirect recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) or pathogen effectors (23, 33). The Bph14-mediated resistance mechanism to BPH is fundamentally similar to defense mechanisms against pathogens. First, BPH is a typical piercing-sucking insect. When feeding on the rice plant, the BPH inserts its stylets into the phloem sieve element, forming a feeding sheath, and ingests plant fluids (34), which produces little physical injury to rice. There is an intimate and prolonged interaction between the insect stylets and plant cells. The stylet actions of BPH infestation are similar in some ways to infection and intercellular hyphae growth of fungal pathogens and invasion of a nematode's stylet (3335) and thus may similarly be perceived by the plants as pathogen infection, leading to similar responses (18). Second, Bph14 encodes a NB-LRR protein and carries a unique LRR domain. Studies on alleles of the L and P genes in flax showed that the LRR domain provided pathogen recognition specificity (36). The unique LRR domain of Bph14 may function to recognize the invading insects, thus inducing defense response (Fig. S5), although the extent of similarity between the defense responses to BPH mediated by Bph14 and those to pathogens remains an interesting issue. Third, our results showed that the defense-signaling pathway induced by BPH is most commonly activated by pathogens. The transcripts of the SA synthesis-related genes accumulated faster and at higher levels in the Bph14-transgenic plants than in the wild-type plants, suggesting that Bph14 activated an SA-dependent pathway (Fig. 4). In plant/pathogen interaction, SA stimulates expression of defense-response genes and promotes the development of systemic acquired resistance, which confers a broad-range resistance to pathogens (13, 33). Fourth, there are similar defense mechanisms against pathogens, nematodes, and insects. Callose deposition and protease inhibitors are induced in Bph14-mediated resistant rice, which are the frequent mechanisms of plant defense against pathogens (37, 38). Taken together, the nature of the Bph14 gene, early host/insect recognition, activation of the plant defense signaling pathway, and callose deposition and protease inhibitor production show the commonality in the mechanisms of plant defense against pathogens and planthoppers.

The commonality in the mechanisms of plant defense against pathogens, nematodes, and insects should be highlighted. It has been known for a long time that rice resistance to BPH could be overcome by a new “biotype” of BPH, which is a virulent strain of the insect with the ability to survive on and damage the previously resistant varieties (39). Although the precise nature of BPH biotype and rice resistance is not clear, their interaction is analogous to “gene-for-gene” interaction of the plant/pathogen systems (39, 40). Identification of Bph14 in this study makes it clear that a CC-NB-LRR gene mediates such a specific gene-for-gene resistance in rice to BPH. To develop a sound strategy for breeding of resistant rice varieties, it is necessary to identify not only the genes governing resistance of rice, but also the corresponding factors governing virulence in BPH. In plant/pathogen interaction, a number of PAMPs and pathogen effectors have been defined (33). Whether the biotypes of the insects are governed by substances like the pathogen effectors remains to be identified. With the knowledge about the nature of the BPH biotype, the response of the insect populations to resistance genes of rice and the extent of occurrence of specific virulence can be assessed.

It is interesting that the Mi-1 gene from tomato also belongs to the NB-LRR family of resistance genes (14). Although Bph14 and Mi belong to the same gene family, they show a distant relationship (Fig. 2A). Mi confers both antixenosis and antibiosis resistance to potato aphid (41), and antibiosis resistance to planthoppers is identified for Bph14. Both Bph14- and Mi-mediated resistance involve the SA signaling pathway (15), and the transcript levels of PR1 in the resistant Mi plants accumulated faster and at higher amounts than in the susceptible mi plants after aphid infestation (42), whereas Bph14 activates a PR1-independent resistance pathway. Mi is a dual purpose gene, which confer resistance to nematodes and aphids (14). Whether Bph14 has a function against nematodes should be tested in the future.

BPH is a monophagous herbivore in the sense that its development can be completed only on rice. It was suggested that a host shift for BPH from Leersia to rice happened probably less than 0.25 Myr ago (43). As a result, resistance genes must have evolved in the rice genome to protect plant growth and reproduction. As new biotypes of BPH emerged to overcome the host resistance, a number of resistance genes would evolve in rice to reduce the BPH damage. Actually, a number of resistance genes have been mapped on the chromosomes in landrace varieties and wild rice species (10). Identification and characterization of these BPH-resistance genes will help us to understand that rice resistance coevolved with the BPH biotype and to develop resistant rice varieties efficiently.

Our results clearly validated the usefulness of the Bph14 gene in control of planthopper in rice. Transforming the Bph14 gene into a susceptible rice variety results in a resistance effect that significantly suppresses the feeding and reduces the growth rate and longevity of BPH insects. Introgression of Bph14 into elite hybrid rice varieties has been shown to yield lines with satisfactory resistance to the BPH in the field (10). The identification of Bph14 greatly facilitates the development of rice varieties with resistance to BPH, thus simultaneously reducing pesticide usage and decreasing economic and environmental costs.

Methods

Plant and Insect Materials.

The 21 varieties of cultivated rice used in this study are listed in Table S1. The BPH insects used for infestation were collected from rice fields in Zhejiang Province, China, and maintained on TN1 plants. The resistance to BPH of the mapping populations and transgenic plants was evaluated using methods described in SI Methods. All of the experiments were repeated over 10 replicates.

Map-Based Cloning of Bph14.

We used the flanking markers RM514 and SM4 to screen 3,700 F2 plants and obtained 49 recombinants. The Bph14 gene was located in a 120-kb region between the markers RM570 and G1318. For further fine mapping, we selected the F2 plants in which the region around Bph14 was heterozygous and other regions were derived from TN1. These plants were self-pollinated and selected until the F5 generation. The F5 population consisting of 5,000 plants was used for the high-resolution mapping and Bph14 was defined on a 34-kb region between SM1 and G1318 (see Fig. 1A). The primers of these markers are listed in Table S3.

Complementation and Knockdown Tests.

A 9.6-kb DNA fragment, digested by XbaI and KpnI, containing the entire Ra coding region, and a 9-kb DNA fragment, digested by XmaI, containing Rb, were independently inserted into the binary vector pCAMBIA1301 for the complementation test. These constructs were transformed into rice Kasalath, using an Agrobacterium-mediated method (44). Two copies of a 342-bp fragment of Ra cDNA were amplified by PCR using primers RNAi1 and RNAi2 and inserted at inverted repeats into the pKANNIBAL vector to generate a hairpin RNAi construct, which was then cloned into the binary vector pCU BamHI site (45). This construct was subsequently transformed into RI35. Plants regenerated from hygromycin-resistant calli (T0 plants) were grown, and T1 seeds were obtained after self-pollination. T1 transformants were selected on the basis of PCR for the transgene and cultivated to set T2 seeds that were collected for resistance evaluation.

Subcellular and Tissue Localization.

The Bph14 coding sequence amplified by PCR using the primers Bph14-GFPF and Bph14-GFPR was cloned into the downstream of the CaMV 35S promoter and in frame with GFP in the modified vector pCAMBIA1302. The resulting plasmid DNA was bombarded into onion epidermal cells, using a helium biolistic device (Bio-Rad PDS-1000). Samples were examined by confocal laser-scanning microscopy (Olympus FV1000).

A 2-kb Bph14 promoter region upstream of the ATG start codon was amplified by PCR using the primers PromoterF and PromoterR and cloned into the vector pCAMBIA1391 to obtain a Bph14 promoter–GUS fusion construct. Transgenic plants carrying this construct were generated as described above. GUS activity in transgenic plants was detected by histochemical assay.

Expression Analysis.

Seeds of the Bph14-transgenic and wild-type plants were sown in 9-cm diameter plastic cups. At the four-leaf stage, plants were infested with eight second instar nymphae per plant and sampled after 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h. All treatments, each with three biological replicates, were terminated at the same time. Total RNA was extracted from the leaf sheaths and the BPHs, using TRIzol reagent (Invitrogen), and then converted into first-strand cDNA. Expression of Bph14 and other genes involved in BPH feeding responses was amplified by quantitative RT-PCR, using an RG-6000 rotary analyzer (Corbett Research). The sequences of the primers are listed in Table S3. The measurements were obtained using the relative quantification method (46).

Histochemistry and Microscopy.

Rice plant seedlings at the four-leaf stage were each infested with 10 BPHs. Leaf sheaths were fixed with formalin–acetic acid–alcohol fixative solution at 4 °C overnight, dehydrated, and embedded in paraffin (Sigma). The tissues were sliced into 10-μm sections with a microtome and fixed to microscope slides, then stained with 0.1% aniline blue in 0.15 M K2PHO4 for 5 min, and examined under a BX51 (Olympus) fluorescence microscope (25).

Supplementary Material

Supporting Information:

Acknowledgments.

We thank Dr. Lyudmila Sidorenko (Department of Plant Science, University of Arizona) for critical reading and valuable suggestion. This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Footnotes

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Data deposition: The sequences reported in this paper have been deposited in the GenBank database (accession no. FJ941067).

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/0912139106/DCSupplemental.

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