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Open Access Research article

Identification of transcription factors potential related to brown planthopper resistance in rice via microarray expression profiling

Yubing Wang12, Huimin Guo12, Haichao Li1, Hao Zhang12 and Xuexia Miao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Insect Developmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200032, P.R. China

2 Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200032, P.R. China

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13:687  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-687

Published: 10 December 2012



Brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens Stål, is one of the most destructive insect pests of rice. The molecular responses of plants to sucking insects resemble responses to pathogen infection. However, the molecular mechanism of BPH-resistance in rice remains unclear. Transcription factors (TF) are up-stream regulators of various genes that bind to specific DNA sequences, thereby controlling the transcription from DNA to mRNA. They are key regulators for transcriptional expression in biological processes, and are probably involved in the BPH-induced pathways in resistant rice varieties.


We conducted a microarray experiment to analyze TF genes related to BPH resistance in a Sri Lankan rice cultivar, Rathu Heenati (RHT). We compared the expression profiles of TF genes in RHT with those of the susceptible rice cultivar Taichun Native 1 (TN1). We detected 2038 TF genes showing differential expression signals between the two rice varieties. Of these, 442 TF genes were probably related to BPH-induced resistance in RHT and TN1, and 229 may be related to constitutive resistance only in RHT. These genes showed a fold change (FC) of more than 2.0 (P<0.05). Among the 442 TF genes related to BPH-induced resistance, most of them were readily induced in TN1 than in RHT by BPH feeding, for instance, 154 TF genes were up-regulated in TN1, but only 31 TF genes were up-regulated in RHT at 24 hours after BPH infestation; 2–4 times more TF genes were induced in TN1 than in RHT by BPH. At an FC threshold of >10, there were 37 induced TF genes and 26 constitutive resistance TF genes. Of these, 13 were probably involved in BPH-induced resistance, and 8 in constitutive resistance to BPH in RHT.


We explored the molecular mechanism of resistance to BPH in rice by comparing expressions of TF genes between RHT and TN1. We speculate that the level of gene repression, especially for early TF genes, plays an important role in the defense response. The fundamental point of the resistance strategy is that plants protect themselves by reducing their metabolic level to inhibit feeding by BPH and prevent damage from water and nutrient loss. We have selected 21 TF genes related to BPH resistance for further analyses to understand the molecular responses to BPH feeding in rice.

Transcription factor; Oryza sativa L; Nilaparvata lugens Stål; Microarray