, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 619-629

Increased Septoria musiva resistance in transgenic hybrid poplar leaves expressing a wheat oxalate oxidase gene

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Abstract

A cDNA clone of a wheat germin-like oxalate oxidase (OxO) gene regulated by the constitutive CaMV 35S promoter was expressed in a hybrid poplar clone, Populus × euramericana (`Ogy'). Previous studies showed that OxO is likely to play an important role in several aspects of plant development, stress response, and defense against pathogens. In order to study this wheat oxalate oxidase gene in woody plants, the expression of this gene and the functions of the encoded enzyme were examined in vitro and in vivo in transgenic `Ogy'. The enzyme activity in the transformed `Ogy' was visualized by histochemical assays and in SDS-polyacrylamide gels. It was found that the wheat OxO gene is expressed in leaves, stems, and roots of the transgenic `Ogy' plants and the encoded enzyme is able to break down oxalic acid. Transgenic `Ogy' leaves were more tolerant to oxalic acid as well as more effective in increasing the pH in an oxalic acid solution when compared to untransformed controls. In addition, when leaf disks from `Ogy' plants were inoculated with conidia of the poplar pathogenic fungus Septoria musiva, which produces oxalic acid, the OxO-transformed plants were more resistant than the untransformed controls.