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Plant Mol Biol. 2003 Jan;51(1):143-52.

Characterization of transgenic rice plants over-expressing the stress-inducible beta-glucanase gene Gns1.

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National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Kannondai 2-1-2, Tsukuba 305-8602, Japan.


The Gns1 gene of rice (Oryza sativa L. japonica) encodes 1,3;1,4-beta glucanase (EC, which hydrolyzes 1,3;1,4-beta-glucosidic linkages on 1,3;1,4-beta-glucan, an important component of cell walls in the Poaceae family. RNA and protein gel blot analyses demonstrated that blast disease or dark treatment induced the expression of the Gns1 gene. To assess the function of the Gns1 gene in disease resistance, we characterized transgenic rice plants constitutively expressing the Gns1 gene. The introduced Gns1 gene was driven by the CaMV 35S promoter and its products were found in the apoplast and accumulated in up to 0.1% of total soluble protein in leaves. Although transgenic plants showed stunted growth and impaired root formation, fertility, germination, and coleoptile elongation appeared unaffected compared to non-transgenic control plants, indicating that Gns1 does not play a crucial role in rice germination and coleoptile elongation. When transgenic plants were inoculated with virulent blast fungus (Magnaporthe grisea), they developed many resistant-type lesions on the inoculated leaf accompanying earlier activation of defense-related genes PR-1 and PBZ1 than in control plants. Transgenic plants spontaneously produced brown specks, similar in appearance to those reported for an initiation type of disease-lesion-mimic mutants, on the third and fourth leaves and occasionally on older leaves without inoculation of pathogens. Expression of the two defense-related genes was drastically increased after the emergence of the lesion-mimic phenotype.

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