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Virus-induced gene silencing in nepeta

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Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is a versatile tool for genetic studies that has been applied to a variety of plant species. With the advent of more accessible genomic and transcriptomic technology applied to an increasing range of plants, tools such as VIGS are being adapted to more non-model plants to explore genes relevant to agriculture and chemical discovery. In this protocol, we adapted VIGS technology to target genes in Nepeta cataria (catnip) and Nepeta mussinii (catmint). These plants carry biochemical and economical value for their production of nepetalactone, an iridoid which provokes a strong reaction in both house cats and aphids. We describe a method to target magnesium chelatase subunit H (CHlH), a gene often targeted as a visual marker for VIGS. Furthermore, we describe a method to simultaneously target two genes in a single plant, which aids in the study of genes found in key biochemical steps in the production of nepetalactone. This approach, which was successfully applied in two members of the Lamiaceae family (mint), could be adapted to other members of the mint family with economical and chemical value.




Palmer, L., & O’Connor, S. E. (2020). Virus-induced gene silencing in nepeta. In Methods in Molecular Biology (Vol. 2172, pp. 111–121). Humana Press Inc.

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