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The xylem feeding leafhopper Homalodisaca vitripennis (H. vitripennis) is an unusually robust and efficient vector of Xylella fastidiosa, a Gram-negative bacterium which causes several very important plant diseases. Here we investigated RNA interference (RNAi) to target actin, a key component of insect cells and whole bodies, in H. vitripennis cells. RNAi effectors were delivered via lipid based transfection and real-time RTPCR, RNA hybridization, and microscopic analyses were employed to verify RNAi effects. When actin dsRNAs were used, a 10-fold decrease in the target H. vitripennis actin mRNA level was seen in cells. Altered phenotypic effects also were evident in transfected cells, as were small interfering RNAs, hallmarks of RNAi. The use of H. vitripennis cells and RNAi offers new opportunities to research hemipterans, the most important insect vectors of plant pathogens.
Homalodisca vitripennis, RNA interference, glassy-winged sharpshooter, Pierce’s disease, RNAi, Gene Silencing