Suppression of a P450 hydroxylase gene in plant trichome glands enhances natural-product-based aphid resistance.
Trichome glands on the surface of many higher plants produce and secrete exudates affecting insects, microbes, and herbivores. Metabolic engineering of gland exudation has potential for improving pest/disease resistance, and for facilitating molecular farming. We identified a cytochrome P450 hydroxylase gene specific to the trichome gland and used both antisense and sense co-suppression strategies to investigate its function. P450-suppressed transgenic tobacco plants showed a > or =41% decrease in the predominant exudate component, cembratriene-diol (CBT-diol), and a > or =19-fold increase in its precursor, cembratriene-ol (CBT-ol). Thus, the level of CBT-ol was raised from 0.2 to > or =4.3% of leaf dry weight. Exudate from antisense-expressing plants had higher aphidicidal activity, and transgenic plants with exudate containing high concentrations of CBT-ol showed greatly diminished aphid colonization responses. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of significantly modifying the natural-product chemical composition and aphid-interactive properties of gland exudates using metabolic engineering. The results also have implications for molecular farming.
Wang, E; Wang, R; DeParasis, J; Loughrin, JH; Gan, S; Wagner, GJ
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