Enhancement of resistance to aphids by introducing the snowdrop lectin gene gna into maize plants

J Biosci. 2005 Dec;30(5):627-38. doi: 10.1007/BF02703563.


In order to enhance the resistance to pests, transgenic maize (Zea mays L.) plants from elite inbred lines containing the gene encoding snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis L. agglutinin; GNA) under control of a phloem-specific promoter were generated through the Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated method. The toxicity of GNA-expressing plants to aphids has also been studied. The independently derived plants were subjected to molecular analyses. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern blot analyses confirmed that the gna gene was integrated into maize genome and inherited to the following generations. The typical Mendelian patterns of inheritance occurred in most cases. The level of GNA expression at 0.13%-0.28% of total soluble protein was observed in different transgenic plants. The progeny of nine GNA-expressing independent transformants that were derived separately from the elite inbred lines DH4866, DH9942, and 8902, were selected for examination of resistance to aphids. These plants synthesized GNA at levels above 0.22% total soluble protein, and enhanced resistance to aphids was demonstrated by exposing the plants to corn leaf aphid (Rhopalosiphum maidis Fitch) under greenhouse conditions. The nymph production was significantly reduced by 46.9% on GNA-expressing plants. Field evaluation of the transgenic plants supported the results from the inoculation trial. After a series of artificial self-crosses, some homozygous transgenic maize lines expressing GNA were obtained. In the present study, we have obtained new insect-resistant maize material for further breeding work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium tumefaciens / genetics
  • Animals
  • Aphids / growth & development*
  • Biological Assay
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Fertility
  • Insect Control
  • Insecticides
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins / genetics*
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Plant Lectins / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified*
  • Plasmids
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / parasitology


  • Insecticides
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins
  • Plant Lectins
  • snowdrop lectin