Drugs from bugs: the use of insects as a valuable source of transgenes with potential in modern plant protection strategies
- 234 Downloads
Transgenic expression of antimicrobial peptides in crops has become a novel approach among the strategies to combat phytopathogens in modern plant protection measures. The first antimicrobial transgenes of insect origin, modified cecropins, have been demonstrated to confer resistance of several transgenic cultivars against both bacterial and fungal phytopathogens. Insects represent a promising reservoir for antimicrobial peptides to engineer disease resistant crops. The increasing knowledge about the potent insect innate immunity may help to develop a novel strategy in sustainable agriculture. Several approaches are presently under investigation to prevent evolution of phytopathogens that can overcome disease resistance in transgenic crops expressing an insect antimicrobial peptide. Pathogen-induced expression of insect antimicrobial peptides in crops and combined multiple expression of different antimicrobial peptides along with proteinase inhibitors from insects may prevent selection of resistant phytopathogens. The potential of insect antimicrobial peptides as transgenes to render disease resistant crops has just started to be explored and may provide tools to be ahead of the evolutionary adaptability of phytopathogens.
KeywordsAntimicrobial peptides Cecropin Defensin Protease inhibitors Phytopathogens
- Ko K, Norelli J, Reynoird J-P, Boresjza-Wysocka E, Brown S, Aldwinckle HS (2000) Effect of untranslated leader sequence of AMV RNA 4 and signal peptide of pathogenesis-related protein 1b on attacin gene expression, and resistance to fire blight in transgenic apple. Biotechn Letters 22:373–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Marshall SH, Arenas G (2003) Antimicrobial peptides: a natural alternative to chemical antibiotics and a potential for applied biotechnology. Elect J Biotech 6(2):271–284Google Scholar
- Vilcinskas A, Matha V (1997) Antimycotic activity of lysozyme and its contribution to antifungal humoral defence reactions in Galleria mellonella. Anim Biol 6:19–29Google Scholar
- Vilcinskas A, Götz P (1999) Parasitic fungi and their interaction with the insect immune system. Adv Parasitol 43:267–313Google Scholar