Expression of a plant defensin in rice confers resistance to fungal phytopathogens
Transgenic rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. Pusa basmati 1), overexpressing the Rs-AFP2 defensin gene from the Raphanus sativus was generated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Expression levels of Rs-AFP2 ranged from 0.45 to 0.53% of total soluble protein in transgenic plants. It was observed that constitutive expression of Rs-AFP2 suppresses the growth of Magnaporthe oryzae and Rhizoctonia solani by 77 and 45%, respectively. No effect on plant morphology was observed in the Rs-AFP2 expressing rice lines. The inhibitory activity of protein extracts prepared from leaves of Rs-AFP2 plants on the in vitro growth of M. oryzae indicated that the Rs-AFP2 protein produced by transgenic rice plants was biologically active. Transgene expression of Rs-AFP2 was not accompanied by an induction of pathogenesis-related (PR) gene expression, suggesting that the expression of Rs-AFP2 directly inhibits the pathogens. Here, we demonstrate that transgenic rice plants expressing the Rs-AFP2 gene show enhanced resistance to M. oryzae and R. solani, two of the most important pathogens of rice.
KeywordsRs-AFP2 Magnaporthe oryzae Rhizoctonia solani Transgenic rice Plant-microbe interactions
We thank Dr. B. Cammue, University of Leuven, Belgium, for providing the plasmid pFAJ3105. This work was supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.
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