Constitutive and tissue-specific differential expression of the cryIA(b) gene in transgenic rice plants conferring resistance to rice insect pest
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The truncated chimeric Bt gene, cryIA(b) of Bacillus thuringiensis, driven by two constitutive promoters, 35S from CaMV and Actin-1 from rice, and two tissue-specific promoters, pith tissue and pepcarboxylase (PEPC) for green tissue from maize, was introduced into several varieties of rice (indica and japonica) by microprojectile bombardment and protoplast systems. A total of 1800 putative transgenic Bt rice plants could be produced. Southern analysis revealed that more than 100 independently transformed plants could be confirmed for integration of the cryIA(b) gene. High levels of CryIA(b) proteins were obtained in the green tissue (leaves and stem) of many plants using the PEPC promoter. There was little difference in Bt protein level in leaves and stems from transgenic plants with the 35 S or Actin-1 promoter. Out of 800 Southern-positive plants that were bioassayed, 81 transgenic plants showed 100% mortality of insect larvae of the yellow stem borer (Scirpophaga incertulas). The transgene, cryIA(b), driven by different promoters showed a wide range of expression (low to high) of Bt proteins stably inherited in a number of rice varieties with enhanced yellow stem borer resistance. This first report of transgenic indica Bt rice plants with the PEPC or pith promoter either alone or in combination should provide a better strategy for providing rice plants with protection against insect pest resistance, minimizing the expression of the CryIA(b) protein in seeds and other tissues.
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