Foliar Delivery of siRNA Particles for Treating Viral Infections in Agricultural Grapevines

Aviram Avital, Noy Sadot Muzika, Zohar Persky, Gili Bar, Yuval Michaeli, Yulia Fridman, Avishai Karny, Jeny Shklover, Janna Shainsky, Sigal Savaldi-Goldstein, Haim Weissman, Oded Shoseyov, Avi Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grapevine leafroll disease (GLD) is a globally spreading viral infection that causes major economic losses by reducing crop yield, plant longevity and berry quality, with no effective treatment. Grapevine leafroll associated virus-3 (GLRaV-3) is the most severe and prevalent GLD strain. Here, we evaluated the ability of RNA interference (RNAi), a non-GMO gene-silencing pathway, to treat GLRaV-3 in infected Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines. We synthesized lipid-modified polyethylenimine (lmPEI) as a carrier for long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA, 250-bp-long) that targets RNA polymerase and coat protein genes that are conserved in the GLRaV-3 genome. Self-assembled dsRNA-lmPEI particles, 220 nm in diameter, displayed inner ordered domains spaced 7.3±2 nm from one another, correlating to lmPEI wrapping spirally around the dsRNA. The particles effectively protected RNA from degradation by ribonucleases, and Europium-loaded particles applied to grapevine leaves were detected as far as 60-cm from the foliar application point. In three field experiments, a single dose of foliar administration knocked down GLRaV-3 titer, and multiple doses of the treatment kept the viral titer at baseline and triggered recovery of the vine and berries. This study demonstrates RNAi as a promising platform for treating viral diseases in agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2101003
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number44
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2021


  • RNAi
  • agriculture
  • nanotechnology
  • siRNA
  • viral diseases

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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