Acquired resistance to the rice blast in transgenic rice accumulating the antimicrobial peptide thanatin
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Thanatin is an antimicrobial peptide with a strong and wide-ranging antimicrobial spectrum, including certain species of fungi and Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. To evaluate the application of thanatin to the generation of disease-resistant plants, we introduced a synthetic thanatin gene into rice. Several transformants that expressed the introduced gene showed significant level of antimicrobial activity. The substances showing antimicrobial activity were partially purified from these transformants and their properties were determined. The molecule with characteristics similar to those of native thanatin on the elution pattern in HPLC analysis had an identical molecular mass to that of native molecule. It should also be noted that the transformant acquired a sufficient level of resistance to the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae, presumably due to the repressive activity of thanatin to its initial stage of infection. This result demonstrates that thanatin has antifungal activity for M. oryzae and that the introduction of the thanatin gene into rice is effective in generating a plant resistant to rice blast disease.
KeywordsAntimicrobial peptide Thanatin Oryza sativa Rice blast Disease resistance Molecular farming
We thank Ms. Yumiko Nakamura (Ebara Research Co., Ltd., Japan) and Dr. Kazunori Taguchi (RIKEN, Japan) for ESI-MS analysis. We also thank Dr. Ken′ichiro Matsumoto and our colleagues for many fruitful discussions.
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