Disease/stress protection in plants expressing animal and plant

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  • 2014-01-15



Disease/stress protection in plants expressing animal and plant

anti-apoptotic genes


- Date/Time : Wed., 3 July 2002


- Speaker : Dr. Marty Dickman

            - University of Nebraska

- Place : Life Science Bldg. #104

- For inquires : Professor Gynheung An Dept. of Life Science

     생명과학과 안진흥 교수 (☎279-2176)

Abstract -

An emerging question in plant biology is whether plants display analogous features of mammalian programmed cell death during development, abiotic stress and defense against pathogen attack.

A number of transgenic crop plants  that express animal anti-apoptotic genes have been generated. These genes (human bcl-2, chicken bcl-xl, C. elegans ced-9, and insect sfiap) all suppress apoptotic death in animal cells. Recently, we have shown that expression of these genes in tobacco abrogate disease development in plants infected with necrotrophic fungi, including Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Botrytis cinerea, and Cercospora nicotianae, as well as a necrogenic virus, tomato spotted wilt virus. suggesting that disease development requires host cell death pathways. Plants with null mutations in these transgenes did not protect against pathogens. Characterisitic apoptotic features occurred in susceptible plants during  infection, but not in transgenic resistant plants. Transgenic plants also displayed tolerance/resistance to abiotic stresses (heat, cold, salt and drought).  To identify plant genes regulating apoptosis, a number of approaches are being developed including: "death on demand" transient assays, yeast-based functional screens, bioinformatics, and high throughput "caspase" screens. Results of these studies will be presented. Taken together our data indicate that these anti-apoptotic genes function in plants and should be useful to delineate stress/resistance pathways. These genes also have potential as broad-specificity disease/stress resistance genes in economically important crops.