Enhanced resistance to fungal pathogens in transgenic Populus tomentosa Carr. by overexpression of an nsLTP-like antimicrobial protein gene from motherwort (Leonurus japonicus)

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The antimicrobial protein gene LJAMP2 is a plant non-specific lipid transfer protein from motherwort (Leonurus japonicus). In this study, it was introduced into Chinese white poplar (Populus tomentosa Carr.) via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation with neomycin phosphotransferase II gene conferring kanamycin resistance as selectable marker. A total of 16 poplar lines were obtained, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis established the stable integration of transgenes in the plant genome. Reverse transcription-PCR detected LJAMP2 expression in transgenic plants. Resistance to fungal pathogens Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissler and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Penz.) of transgenic poplar lines was tested. In vitro inhibitory activity against the fungal pathogens was evident from the crude leaf extracts from the transformants. In vivo assays showed that, after infection with both A. alternata (Fr.) Keissler and C. gloeosporioides (Penz.), there was a significant reduction in disease symptoms in transgenic poplar plants compared with the control. These results suggest that constitutive expression of the LJAMP2 gene from motherwort can be exploited to improve resistance to fungal pathogens in poplar. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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Tree Physiology