Clay nanosheets for topical delivery of RNAi for sustained protection against plant viruses.

Mitter N, Worrall EA, Robinson KE, Li P, Jain RG, Taochy C, Fletcher SJ, Carroll BJ, Lu GQ, Xu ZP

Topical application of pathogen-specific double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) for virus resistance in plants represents an attractive alternative to transgenic RNA interference (RNAi). However, the instability of naked dsRNA sprayed on plants has been a major challenge towards its practical application. We demonstrate that dsRNA can be loaded on designer, non-toxic, degradable, layered double hydroxide (LDH) clay nanosheets. Once loaded on LDH, the dsRNA does not wash off, shows sustained release and can be detected on sprayed leaves even 30 days after application. We provide evidence for the degradation of LDH, dsRNA uptake in plant cells and silencing of homologous RNA on topical application. Significantly, a single spray of dsRNA loaded on LDH (BioClay) afforded virus protection for at least 20 days when challenged on sprayed and newly emerged unsprayed leaves. This innovation translates nanotechnology developed for delivery of RNAi for human therapeutics to use in crop protection as an environmentally sustainable and easy to adopt topical spray. 


 NATURE PLANTS 3, 16207 (2017) |DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2016.207 | www.nature.com/natureplants

An online view of the paper can be read here.

 

 

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