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Heterologous expression of taro cystatin protects transgenic tomato against Meloidogyne incognita infection by means of interfering sex determination and suppressing gall formation


Plant-parasitic nematodes are a major pest of many plant species and cause global economic loss. A phytocystatin gene, Colocasia esculenta cysteine proteinase inhibitor (CeCPI), isolated from a local taro Kaosiang No. 1, and driven by a CaMV35S promoter was delivered into CLN2468D, a heat-tolerant cultivar of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). When infected with Meloidogyne incognita, one of root-knot nematode (RKN) species, transgenic T1 lines overexpressing CeCPI suppressed gall formation as evidenced by a pronounced reduction in gall numbers. In comparison with wild-type plants, a much lower proportion of female nematodes without growth retardation was observed in transgenic plants. A decrease of RKN egg mass in transgenic plants indicated seriously impaired fecundity. Overexpression of CeCPI in transgenic tomato has inhibitory functions not only in the early RKN infection stage but also in the production of offspring, which may result from intervention in sex determination.

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Kai-Wun Yeh and Ming-Tsair Chan contributed equally to this study. This study belongs to the TW-SOL project (The International Solanaceae Genome Project—Taiwan) and was supported by grants from the National Science and Technology Program for Agricultural Biotechnology [numbers 95AS-6.2.1-ST-a1 (46), 96AS-1.2.1-ST-a2 (13), and 97AS-1.2.1-ST-a3 (13)] to Dr. Kai-Wun Yeh.

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Correspondence to Ming-Tsair Chan.

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Communicated by E. Guiderdoni.

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Chan, YL., Yang, AH., Chen, JT. et al. Heterologous expression of taro cystatin protects transgenic tomato against Meloidogyne incognita infection by means of interfering sex determination and suppressing gall formation. Plant Cell Rep 29, 231–238 (2010).

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  • Phytocystatin
  • CeCPI
  • Root-knot nematode
  • Tomato
  • Giant cells