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Overexpression of a novel Cry1Ie gene confers resistance to Cry1Ac-resistant cotton bollworm in transgenic lines of maize

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Although transgenic crops expressing either Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac, both derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), have been used commercially, the evolution of insects resistance to these CRY proteins has become a challenge. Thus, it has been proposed that co-expression of two Bt proteins with different modes of action may delay the development of resistance to Bt. However, few Bt proteins have been identified as having different modes of action from those of Cry1Ab or Cry1Ac. In this study, transgenic lines of maize over-expressing either Cry1Ie or Cry1Ac gene have been developed. Several independent transgenic lines with one copy of the foreign gene were identified by Southern blot analysis. Bioassays in the laboratory showed that the transgenic plants over-expressing Cry1Ie were highly toxic against the wild-type cotton bollworm (Heliothis armigera), producing mortality levels of 50 % after 6 days of exposure. However, the mortality caused by these plants was lower than that caused by the Cry1Ac transgenic plants (80 %) and MON810 plants expressing Cry1Ab (100 %), which both exhibited low toxicity toward the Cry1Ac-resistant cotton bollworm. In contrast, three transgenic maize lines expressing Cry1Ie induced higher mortality against this pest and were also highly toxic to the Asian corn borer (Ostrinia furnacalis) in the field. These results indicate that the Cry1Ie protein has a different mode of action than the Cry1Ab and Cry1Ac proteins. Therefore, the use of transgenic plants expressing Cry1Ie might delay the development of Bt-resistant insects in the field.

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This work is financially supported by the National Major Project for Transgenic Organism Breeding (2011ZX08003-001). We thank the editors from American Journal Experts for improving the English language in the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jianhua Wang or Guoying Wang.

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Yuwen Zhang and Yunjun Liu have contributed equally to this work.

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Zhang, Y., Liu, Y., Ren, Y. et al. Overexpression of a novel Cry1Ie gene confers resistance to Cry1Ac-resistant cotton bollworm in transgenic lines of maize. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 115, 151–158 (2013).

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