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Plant Cell Rep. 2008 Nov;27(11):1777-86. doi: 10.1007/s00299-008-0596-8. Epub 2008 Aug 29.

Transgenic tobacco and peanut plants expressing a mustard defensin show resistance to fungal pathogens.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.


Defensins are small positively charged, antimicrobial peptides (approximately 5 kDa in size) and some of them exhibit potent antifungal activity. We have cloned the complete cDNA containing an ORF of 243 bp of a defensin of mustard. The deduced amino acid sequence of the peptide showed more than 90% identity to the amino acid sequence of the well-characterized defensins, RsAFP-1 and RsAFP-2 of Raphanus sativus. We have generated and characterized transgenic tobacco and peanut plants constitutively expressing the mustard defensin. Transgenic tobacco plants were resistant to the fungal pathogens, Fusarium moniliforme and Phytophthora parasitica pv. nicotianae. Transgenic peanut plants showed enhanced resistance against the pathogens, Pheaoisariopsis personata and Cercospora arachidicola, which jointly cause serious late leaf spot disease. These observations indicate that the mustard defensin gene can be deployed for deriving fungal disease resistance in transgenic crops.

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