The cry1Ac7 gene of Bacillus thuringiensis strain 234, showing activity against the sugarcane borer Eldana saccharina, was cloned under the control of the tac promoter. The fusion was introduced into the broad-host-range plasmid pKT240 and the integration vector pJFF350 and without the tac promoter into the broad-host-range plasmids pML122 and pKmM0. These plasmids were introduced into a Pseudomonas fluorescens strain isolated from the phylloplane of sugarcane and the endophytic bacterium Herbaspirillum seropedicae found in sugarcane. The ptac-cry1Ac7 construct was introduced into the chromosome of P. fluorescens using the integration vector pJFF350 carrying the artificial interposon Omegon-Km. Western blot analysis showed that the expression levels of the integrated cry1Ac7 gene were much higher under the control of the tac promoter than under the control of its endogenous promoter. It was also determined that multicopy expression in P. fluorescens and H. seropedicae of ptac-cry1Ac7 carried on pKT240 caused plasmid instability with no detectable protein expression. In H. seropedicae, more Cry1Ac7 toxin was produced when the gene was cloned under the control of the Nmr promoter on pML122 than in the opposite orientation and bioassays showed that the former resulted in higher mortality of E. saccharina larvae than the latter. P. fluorescens 14::ptac-tox resulted in higher mortality of larvae than did P. fluorescens 14::tox. An increased toxic effect was observed when P. fluorescens 14::ptac-tox was combined with P. fluorescens carrying the Serratia marcescens chitinase gene chiA, under the control of the tac promoter, integrated into the chromosome
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