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, 9 (2), 151-61

Effective Delivery of a Nematode-Repellent Peptide Using a Root-Cap-Specific Promoter

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Effective Delivery of a Nematode-Repellent Peptide Using a Root-Cap-Specific Promoter

Catherine J Lilley et al. Plant Biotechnol J.

Abstract

The potential of the MDK4-20 promoter of Arabidopsis thaliana to direct effective transgenic expression of a secreted nematode-repellent peptide was investigated. Its expression pattern was studied in both transgenic Arabidopsis and Solanum tuberosum (potato) plants. It directed root-specific β-glucuronidase expression in both species that was chiefly localized to cells of the root cap. Use of the fluorescent timer protein dsRED-E5 established that the MDK4-20 promoter remains active for longer than the commonly used constitutive promoter CaMV35S in separated potato root border cells. Transgenic Arabidopsis lines that expressed the nematode-repellent peptide under the control of either AtMDK4-20 or CaMV35S reduced the establishment of the beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii. The best line using the AtMDK4-20 promoter displayed a level of resistance >80%, comparable to that of lines using the CaMV35S promoter. In transgenic potato plants, 94.9 ± 0.8% resistance to the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida was achieved using the AtMDK4-20 promoter, compared with 34.4 ± 8.4% resistance displayed by a line expressing the repellent peptide from the CaMV35S promoter. These results establish the potential of the AtMDK4-20 promoter to limit expression of a repellent peptide whilst maintaining or even improving the efficacy of the cyst-nematode defence.

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