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Transgenic 'Arabidopsis' leaf tissue expressing a modified oryzacystatin shows resistance to the field slug 'Deroceras reticulatum' (Muller).

By Anthony J. Walker, Peter E. Urwin, Howard J. Atkinson, Philip Brain, David M. Glen and Peter R. Shewry


Transgenic 'Arabidopsis thaliana' has been developed which expresses the oryzacystatin mutant OC-I delta 86, which is an inhibitor of the major proteinase present in the digestive gland of the slug, 'Deroceras reticulatum'. When fed on leaf tissue from plants expressing this inhibitor the growth of juvenile slugs was significantly reduced by 31% compared with those feeding on control leaf tissue. Furthermore, while surviving slugs did not individually consume less when feeding on leaf tissue expressing OC-I delta 86, the total amount of leaf tissue eaten was 50% less, due to reduced survival of slugs. The synthetic cysteine proteinase inhibitors E-64 and leupeptin also significantly reduced slug weight gain (by at least 40%) and digestive gland cysteine proteinase activity when administered in an artificial diet, indicating that their antimetabolic effects are due to direct inhibition of gut proteolytic activity. These results suggest that transgenic crop plants expressing phytocystatins could be used to suppress the growth rates of slug populations in the field

Topics: biological
Publisher: Kluwer
Year: 1999
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