Green tissue-specific co-expression of chitinase and oxalate oxidase 4 genes in rice for enhanced resistance against sheath blight

Subhasis Karmakar, Kutubuddin Ali Molla, Palas K Chanda, Sailendra Nath Sarkar, Swapan K Datta, Karabi Datta
Planta 2016, 243 (1): 115-30
Green tissue-specific simultaneous overexpression of two defense-related genes ( OsCHI11 & OsOXO4 ) in rice leads to significant resistance against sheath blight pathogen ( R. solani ) without distressing any agronomically important traits. Overexpressing two defense-related genes (OsOXO4 and OsCHI11) cloned from rice is effective at enhancing resistance against sheath blight caused by Rhizoctonia solani. These genes were expressed under the control of two different green tissue-specific promoters, viz. maize phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase gene promoter, PEPC, and rice cis-acting 544-bp DNA element, immediately upstream of the D54O translational start site, P D54O-544 . Putative T0 transgenic rice plants were screened by PCR and integration of genes was confirmed by Southern hybridization of progeny (T1) rice plants. Successful expression of OsOXO4 and OsCHI11 in all tested plants was confirmed. Expression of PR genes increased significantly following pathogen infection in overexpressing transgenic plants. Following infection, transgenic plants exhibited elevated hydrogen peroxide levels, significant changes in activity of ROS scavenging enzymes and reduced membrane damage when compared to their wild-type counterpart. In a Rhizoctonia solani toxin assay, a detached leaf inoculation test and an in vivo plant bioassay, transgenic plants showed a significant reduction in disease symptoms in comparison to non-transgenic control plants. This is the first report of overexpression of two different PR genes driven by two green tissue-specific promoters providing enhanced sheath blight resistance in transgenic rice.

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