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Abstract

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), an important food crop in the world, is susceptible to many fungal pathogens including Alternaria solani and Fusarium oxysporum causing Fusarium wilt and early blight diseases. Mycoparasitic fungi like Trichoderma encode chitinases, cell wall degrading enzymes, with high antifungal activity against a wide range of phytopathogenic fungi. In this study, a binary vector harboring endochitinase gene of ~1,000 bp was constructed and used to transform potato nodes through Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Out of several primary transformants, two transgenic potato lines were verified for transgene insertion and integration by Southern blot. In a pot experiment for Fusarium resistance, the transgenic potato lines didn’t show any symptoms of disease, instead they remained healthy post infection. The transgenic potato lines exhibited 1.5 fold higher mRNA expression of endochitinase at 7 days as compared to 0 day post fungus inoculation. It was evident that the mRNA expression decreased over days of inoculation but was still higher than at 0 day and remained stable upto 30 days post inoculation. Similarly, for A. solani infection assay, the mRNA expression of the endochitinase gene was 3 fold higher 7 days post inoculation compared to expression at 0 day. Although the expression decreased by1.2 fold during subsequent days post infection, it remained stable for 30 days, suggesting that protection in transgenic potato plants against fungal pathogens was achieved through an increase in endochitinase transcript.
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