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Transgenic tomato plants expressing the Arabidopsis NPR1 gene display enhanced resistance to a spectrum of fungal and bacterial diseases


Development of effective disease-resistance to a broad-range of pathogens in crops usually requires tremendous resources and effort when traditional breeding approaches are taken. Genetic engineering of disease-resistance in crops has become popular and valuable in terms of cost and efficacy. Due to long-lasting and broad-spectrum of effectiveness against pathogens, employment of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) for the genetic engineering of crop disease-resistance is of particular interest. In this report, we explored the potential of using SAR-related genes for the genetic engineering of enhanced resistance to multiple diseases in tomato. The Arabidopsis NPR1 (nonexpresser of PR genes) gene was introduced into a tomato cultivar, which possesses heat-tolerance and resistance to tomato mosaic virus (ToMV). The transgenic lines expressing NPR1 were normal as regards overall morphology and horticultural traits for at least four generations. Disease screens against eight important tropical diseases revealed that, in addition to the innate ToMV-resistance, the tested transgenic lines conferred significant level of enhanced resistance to bacterial wilt (BW) and Fusarium wilt (FW), and moderate degree of enhanced resistance to gray leaf spot (GLS) and bacterial spot (BS). Transgenic lines that accumulated higher levels of NPR1 proteins exhibited higher levels and a broader spectrum of enhanced resistance to the diseases, and enhanced disease-resistance was stably inherited. The spectrum and degree of these NPR1-transgenic lines are more significant compared to that of transgenic tomatoes reported to date. These transgenic lines may be further explored as future tomato stocks, aiming at building up resistance to a broader spectrum of diseases.

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Correspondence to Chiu-Ping Cheng.

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Lin, W., Lu, C., Wu, J. et al. Transgenic tomato plants expressing the Arabidopsis NPR1 gene display enhanced resistance to a spectrum of fungal and bacterial diseases. Transgenic Res 13, 567–581 (2004).

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  • Arabidopsis NPR1
  • disease resistance
  • PR genes
  • tomato