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Expression of the Capsicuum annum (Chili) Defensin Gene in Transgenic Tomatoes Confers Enhanced Resistance to Fungal Pathogens

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Author(s): Z. Zainal | E. Marouf | I. Ismail | C.K. Fei

Journal: American Journal of Plant Physiology
ISSN 1557-4539

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 70;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Agrobacterium tumefaciens | antifungal activity | disease resistance | Fusarium sp. | Lycopersicon esculentum | Phytophthora infestans

ABSTRACT
Plant defensins are a group of pathogenesis-related defense mechanism proteins. Transgenic tomato plants expressing the chili defensin gene under the control of a Cauliflower Mosaic Virus 35S (CaMV 35S) promoter were generated. The 5 kDa peptide, corresponding to the chili defensin protein was detected in the total protein fraction extracted from the transgenic plants. When compared to partially-purified peptide extracts from untransformed tomato plants, those from transgenic plant possessed the ability to reduce the growth of several fungi in vitro. T2 transgenic plants were selected and tested for resistance against Fusarium sp. and Phytophthora infestans. The transgenic lines were more resistant to infection by these pathogens than the control plants.
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