Increased tolerance to Phytophthora citrophthora in transgenic orange plants constitutively expressing a tomato pathogenesis related protein PR-5
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AutorFagoaga,Carmen; Rodrigo,I.; Conejero,V.; Hinarejos,C.; Tuset,JJ; Arnau,J.; Pina,JA; Navarro,Luis; Pena,L.
Phytophthora citrophthora is the most widely spread oomycete plant pathogen over all the citrus growing areas and represents one of the major causes of crop losses. Constitutive over-expression of genes encoding proteins involved in plant defence mechanisms to disease is one of the strategies proposed to increase plant tolerance to oomycete and fungal pathogens. P23 (PR-5), a 23-kDa pathogenesis-related protein similar to osmotins, is induced in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Rutgers) plants when they are infected with citrus exocortis viroid, and its antifungal activity has been demonstrated in in vitro assays. We have successfully produced transgenic orange (Citrus sinensis L. Obs. cv. Pineapple) plants bearing a chimeric gene construct consisting of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter and the coding region of the tomato pathogenesis-related PR-5. Nine regenerated transgenic lines constitutively expressed the PR protein. They were challenged with Phytophthora citrophthora using a detached bark assay. A significant reduction in lesion development was consistently observed in one transgenic line in comparison to the control plants. This same line achieved plant survival rates higher than control plants when transgenic trees were inoculated with oomycete cultures. These results provide evidence for the in vivo activity of the tomato PR-5 protein against Phytophthora citrophthora, and suggest that this may be employed as a strategy aimed at engineering Phytophthora disease resistance in citrus.