Antifungal genes from micro-organisms were inserted into the genome of a number of plant species, representing a promising strategy for conferring genetic disease resistance against a broad range of plant pathogenic fungi. In the present study, the chit42 gene from Trichoderma harzianum (codifying the antifungal protein endochitinase) was introduced into the ‘Femminello siracusano’ lemon by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, in order to regenerate transgenic plants resistant to fungal disease. Three polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive clones were obtained. Southern blot confirmed the integration of the transgene in the lemon genome and revealed that one or two copies had been inserted. Reverse transcriptase-PCR, Northern blot and Western analysis were performed and the results confirmed the expression of the inserted gene. The transgenic clones were tested in vitro and in vivo for disease resistance. Conidia germination and fungal growth of Phoma tracheiphila were strongly inhibited in vitro by the transgenic foliar proteins, while no effects were observed with the controls. Disease resistance assays were performed in vivo with Botrytis cinerea, the causal agent of grey mould in fruit. Transgenic lemon plants, inoculated with lemon petals infected by a single-conidial isolate of B. cinerea, showed significantly less lesion development than the controls. On the whole, the results indicate that the transformation with the antifungal endochitinase gene may represent a strategy for disease control in citrus crops.

Enhanced resistance to Phoma tracheiphila and Botrytis cinerea in transgenic lemon plants expressing a Trichoderma harzianum chitinase gene

GENTILE, Alessandra;LA MALFA, Stefano Giovanni;DISTEFANO, GAETANO;VITALE, ALESSANDRO;POLIZZI, Giancarlo;
2007

Abstract

Antifungal genes from micro-organisms were inserted into the genome of a number of plant species, representing a promising strategy for conferring genetic disease resistance against a broad range of plant pathogenic fungi. In the present study, the chit42 gene from Trichoderma harzianum (codifying the antifungal protein endochitinase) was introduced into the ‘Femminello siracusano’ lemon by Agrobacterium tumefaciens, in order to regenerate transgenic plants resistant to fungal disease. Three polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive clones were obtained. Southern blot confirmed the integration of the transgene in the lemon genome and revealed that one or two copies had been inserted. Reverse transcriptase-PCR, Northern blot and Western analysis were performed and the results confirmed the expression of the inserted gene. The transgenic clones were tested in vitro and in vivo for disease resistance. Conidia germination and fungal growth of Phoma tracheiphila were strongly inhibited in vitro by the transgenic foliar proteins, while no effects were observed with the controls. Disease resistance assays were performed in vivo with Botrytis cinerea, the causal agent of grey mould in fruit. Transgenic lemon plants, inoculated with lemon petals infected by a single-conidial isolate of B. cinerea, showed significantly less lesion development than the controls. On the whole, the results indicate that the transformation with the antifungal endochitinase gene may represent a strategy for disease control in citrus crops.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/6775
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