Transformation of tobacco and Arabidopsis plants with Stellaria media genes encoding novel hevein-like peptides increases their resistance to fungal pathogens
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- R. Shukurov, R., D. Voblikova, V., Nikonorova, A.K. et al. Transgenic Res (2012) 21: 313. doi:10.1007/s11248-011-9534-6
Two novel antifungal hevein-like peptides, SmAMP1.1a and SmAMP2.2a, were previously isolated from seeds of Stellaria media. It has been established that these peptides accumulate in this weed as a result of proteolysis of two propeptides, pro-SmAMP1 and pro-SmAMP2. The primary structure of these propeptides is unique; in addition to having a signal peptide and negatively charged C-terminus, each of these structures consists of two hevein-like peptides of different length separated by a space rather than a single peptide. In this work, we demonstrated that the expression of the pro-SmAMP1 and pro-SmAMP2 genes was tissue-specific and increased substantially under exposure to fungal infection. To elucidate whether S. media has any advantages in defending against phytopathogens due to its unusual structure of pro-SmAMP1 and pro-SmAMP2, on the basis of the pro-SmAMP1 gene, we created three genetic constructs. Arabidopsis and tobacco plants were subsequently transformed with these constructs. Transgenic plants bearing the full-length pro-SmAMP1 gene exhibited the best resistance to the phytopathogens Bipolaris sorokiniana and Thielaviopsis basicola. The resistance of S. media plants to phytopathogenic fungi was likely due to the fungal-inducible expression of pro-SmAMP1 and pro-SmAMP2 genes, and due to the specific features of the primary structure of the corresponding propeptides. As a result of the processing of these propeptides, two different antimicrobial peptides were released simultaneously. Based on our results, we conclude that the genes for antimicrobial peptides from S. media may be promising genetic tools for the improvement of plant resistance to fungal diseases.