Leaf-disc assay based on transient over-expression in Nicotiana benthamiana to allow functional screening of candidate effectors from aphids.

Aphids, like plant pathogens, are known to form close associations with their host. While probing and feeding, these insects deliver effectors inside the host, which are thought to be involved in suppression of host defenses and/or the release of nutrients. With increasing availability of aphid genome and transcriptome sequencing data, effectors can now be identified using bioinformatics- and proteomics-based approaches. The next step is then to apply functional assays relevant to plant-aphid interactions to identify effector activities. This chapter describes an effective and medium-throughput screen for the identification of effectors that affect aphid fecundity upon in planta over-expression. This assay will allow the identification of aphid effectors with a role in aphid virulence and can be adapted to other plant species amenable to agroinfiltration as well as to other assays based on transient expression, such as RNAi.