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Mol Cells. 2009 Aug 31;28(2):131-7. doi: 10.1007/s10059-009-0117-9. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

Expression of BrD1, a plant defensin from Brassica rapa, confers resistance against brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) in transgenic rices.

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National Institute of Crop Science, Rural Development Administration, Suwon, 441-857, Korea.


Plant defensins are small (5-10 kDa) basic peptides thought to be an important component of the defense pathway against fungal and/or bacterial pathogens. To understand the role of plant defensins in protecting plants against the brown planthopper, a type of insect herbivore, we isolated the Brassica rapa Defensin 1 (BrD1) gene and introduced it into rice (Oryza sativa L.) to produce stable transgenic plants. The BrD1 protein is homologous to other plant defensins and contains both an N-terminal endoplasmic reticulum signal sequence and a defensin domain, which are highly conserved in all plant defensins. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of the defensin domain of various plant defensins, we established that BrD1 belongs to a distinct subgroup of plant defensins. Relative to the wild type, transgenic rices expressing BrD1 exhibit strong resistance to brown planthopper nymphs and female adults. These results suggest that BrD1 exhibits insecticidal activity, and might be useful for developing cereal crop plants resistant to sap-sucking insects, such as the brown planthopper.

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