Significant reduction of fungal disease symptoms in transgenic lupin (Lupinus angustifolius) expressing the anti-apoptotic baculovirus gene p35

T. Wijayanto, Susan Barker, S.J. Wylie, D.G. Gilchrist, Wallace Cowling

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    Narrow-leafed lupin (NLL; Lupinus angustifolius) is a recently domesticated butanciently propagated crop with significant value in rotation with cereals in Mediterraneanclimates. However, several fungal pathogens, traditionally termed necrotrophs,severely affect broad-acre production and there is limited genetic resistance in theNLL germplasm pool. Symptoms of many of these diseases appear as localized areasof dead cells exhibiting markers of programmed cell death. Based on our previousresearch, we hypothesized that engineered expression of the baculovirus antiapoptoticp35 gene might reduce symptoms of these diseases. Using Agrobacteriumtumefaciens-mediated transformation of a cultivar highly susceptible to severalpathogens, 14 independent NLL lines containing both the p35 and bar genes wereobtained (p35-NLL). Integration and expression of the transgenes were confirmed bypolymerase chain reaction (PCR), progeny testing, Southern blot, Northern blot andreverse transcriptase-PCR analyses. Fecundity and nodulation were not altered inthese lines. Third or fourth generation p35-NLL lines were challenged with necrotrophicfungal pathogens (anthracnose in stem and leaf, and Pleiochaeta root rotand leaf brown spot) in controlled environment conditions. Several p35-NLL lineshad significantly reduced disease symptoms. Interestingly, as with natural resistance,no single line was improved for all three diseases which possibly reflecting spatialvariation of p35 expression in planta. These data support an alternative moleculardefinition for ‘necrotrophic disease’ in plants and suggest new routes for achievingresistance against a range of pathogens.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)778-790
    JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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