, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 173-180

First online:

Synergistic activity of chitinases and β-1,3-glucanases enhances fungal resistance in transgenic tomato plants

  • Erik JongedijkAffiliated withMOGEN International nv
  • , Henk TigelaarAffiliated withMOGEN International nv
  • , Jeroen S. C. van RoekelAffiliated withMOGEN International nv
  • , Sandra A. Bres-VloemansAffiliated withMOGEN International nv
  • , Ilma DekkerAffiliated withMOGEN International nv
  • , Peter J. M. van den ElzenAffiliated withMOGEN International nv
  • , Ben J. C. CornelissenAffiliated withInstitute for Molecular Cell Biology, Biocentrum Amsterdam
  • , Leo S. MelchersAffiliated withMOGEN International nv

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Simultaneous expression of a tobacco class I chitinase and a class I β-1,3-glucanase gene in tomato resulted in increased fungal resistance, whereas transgenic tomato plants expressing either one of these genes were not protected against fungal infection. After infection with Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici, a 36% to 58% reduction in disease severity was observed in resistant tomato lines. Two transgenic lines largely recovered from the initial infection by the time wild-type tomato plants had died.

The overall results are consistent with the observation that class I chitinases and class I β-1,3-glucanases synergistically inhibit the growth of fungi in vitro and provide the first experimental support to the hypothesis that such synergy can contribute to enhanced fungal resistance in planta.

Key words

Lycopersicon esculentum tomato endochitinases β-1,3-endoglucanases fungal resistance transgenic plants