Comparative performance of modified full-length and truncated Bacillus thuringiensis-cry1Ac genes in transgenic tomato.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Bt-cry1Ac gene has been reputedly effective against Helicoverpa armigera a notorious lepidopteran pest. Reports on the expression of full-length and truncated cry1Ac genes in plants for effective resistance against Helicoverpa sp. have been documented however, their performance is still ambiguous. Moreover, the question remains to be addressed that truncation of 3' end of the native gene was documented and suggested for active insecticidal toxin production while the most successful transgenic event(s) of commercialized-cotton are based on full-length of the cry gene. Therefore, we performed a comparative study on the efficacy of the two versions of cry1Ac genes (full-length: 3,510 bp and truncated: 1,845 bp) in T0 and T1 transgenic tomato plants and analyzed the extent of protection against H. armigera and also compared the results with our previous findings related to a successful transgenic tomato line Ab25E, expressing cry1Ab gene. The integration of cry1Ac gene(s) in T0 transgenic plants and its inheritance in T1 progeny was observed by PCR, RT-PCR and Southern blot hybridization analysis while, the toxin integrity, expression and toxicity was monitored by Western immunoassay, DAS-ELISA and insect bioassay respectively. RESULTS:An average transformation frequency and Bt-Cry protein content of 16.93?±?2.10 and 0.0020-0.0128% of total soluble protein (TSP) was obtained with pRD400 vector (Trcry1Ac) while, a much lower value of 9.30?±?2.041 and 0.0001 - 0.0026% of TSP was observed with pNBRI-1 vector (Flcry1Ac), respectively. The promising Trcry1Ac T0 transgenic plants and their T1 progeny gave full protection from H. armigera. Although Flcry1Ac gene showed lower transformation frequency and lower expression, it showed higher toxicity to H. armigera when compared with truncated Trcry1Ac gene. CONCLUSIONS:The full-length cry1Ac gene can be redesigned for higher expression and performance in dicots or a hybrid gene could be designed having a blend of strong receptor binding and stable expression characteristics for enhanced efficacy and toxicity to the susceptible insects.
Project description:Soybean is a globally important crop species, which is subject to pressure by insects and weeds causing severe substantially reduce yield and quality. Despite the success of transgenic soybean in terms of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and herbicide tolerance, unforeseen mitigated performances have still been inspected due to climate changes that favor the emergence of insect resistance. Therefore, there is a need to develop a biotech soybean with elaborated gene stacking to improve insect and herbicide tolerance in the field. In this study, new gene stacking soybean events, such as bialaphos resistance (bar) and pesticidal crystal protein (cry)1Ac mutant 2 (M#2), are being developed in Vietnamese soybean under field condition. Five transgenic plants were extensively studied in the herbicide effects, gene expression patterns, and insect mortality across generations. The increase in the expression of the bar gene by 100% in the leaves of putative transgenic plants was a determinant of herbicide tolerance. In an insect bioassay, the cry1Ac-M#2 protein tested yielded higher than expected larval mortality (86%), reflecting larval weight gain and weight of leaf consumed were less in the T1 generation. Similarly, in the field tests, the expression of cry1Ac-M#2 in the transgenic soybean lines was relatively stable from T0 to T3 generations that corresponded to a large reduction in the rate of leaves and pods damage caused by Lamprosema indicata and Helicoverpa armigera. The transgenic lines converged two genes, producing a soybean phenotype that was resistant to herbicide and lepidopteran insects. Furthermore, the expression of cry1Ac-M#2 was dominant in the T1 generation leading to the exhibit of better phenotypic traits. These results underscored the great potential of combining bar and cry1Ac mutation genes in transgenic soybean as pursuant of ensuring resistance to herbicide and lepidopteran insects.
Project description:Toxins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are used widely for insect control in sprays and transgenic plants, but their efficacy is reduced when pests evolve resistance. Previous work showed that mutations in a gene encoding the transporter protein ABCC2 are linked with resistance to Bt toxins Cry1Ab, Cry1Ac or both in four species of Lepidoptera. Here we compared the ABCC2 gene of Helicoverpa armigera (HaABCC2) between susceptible strains and a laboratory-selected strain with >1,000-fold resistance to Cry1Ac relative its susceptible parent strain. We discovered a 73-base pair (bp) insertion in the cDNA of the resistant strain that generates a premature stop codon expected to yield a truncated ABCC2 protein. Sequencing of genomic DNA revealed that this insertion is an intron that is not spliced out because of a 6-bp deletion at its splicing site. Analysis of progeny from crosses revealed tight genetic linkage between HaABCC2 and resistance to Cry1Ac. These results provide the first evidence that mis-splicing of a gene encoding an ABCC2 protein confers resistance to a Bt toxin.
Project description:Transgenic plants producing insecticidal proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are useful for pest control, but their efficacy is reduced when pests evolve resistance. Here we examined the mechanism of resistance to Bt toxin Cry1Ac in the laboratory-selected LF5 strain of the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera. This strain had 110-fold resistance to Cry1Ac protoxin and 39-fold resistance to Cry1Ac activated toxin. Evaluation of five trypsin genes revealed 99% reduced transcription of one trypsin gene (HaTryR) was associated with resistance. Silencing of this gene with RNA interference in susceptible larvae increased their survival on diets containing Cry1Ac. Bioassays of progeny from crosses revealed that resistance to Cry1Ac was genetically linked with HaTryR. We identified mutations in the promoter region of HaTryR in the resistant strain. In transfected insect cell lines, transcription was lower when driven by the resistant promoter compared with the susceptible promoter, implicating cis-mediated down-regulation of HaTryR transcription as a mechanism of resistance. The results suggest that H. armigera can adapt to Bt toxin Cry1Ac by decreased expression of trypsin. Because trypsin activation of protoxin is a critical step in toxicity, transgenic plants with activated toxins rather than protoxins might increase the durability of Bt crops.
Project description:Transgenic chickpeas expressing high levels of a truncated version of the <i>cry1Ac</i> (tr<i>cry1Ac</i>) gene conferred complete protection to <i>Helicoverpa armigera</i> in the greenhouse. Homozygous progeny of two lines, Cry1Ac.1 and Cry1Ac.2, had similar growth pattern and other morphological characteristics, including seed yield, compared to the non-transgenic counterpart; therefore, seed compositional analysis was carried out. These selected homozygous chickpea lines were selfed for ten generations along with the non-transgenic parent under contained conditions. A comparative seed composition assessment, seed storage proteins profiling, and <i>in vitro</i> protein digestibility were performed to confirm that these lines do not have significant alterations in seed composition compared to the parent. Our analyses showed no significant difference in primary nutritional composition between transgenic and non-transgenic chickpeas. In addition, the seed storage protein profile also showed no variation between the transgenic chickpea lines. Seed protein digestibility assays using simulated gastric fluid revealed a similar rate of digestion of proteins from the transgenic tr<i>cry1Ac</i> lines compared to the non-transgenic line. Thus, our data suggest no unintended changes in the seed composition of transgenic chickpea expressing a tr<i>cry1Ac</i> gene.
Project description:Insect resistance to <i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> (Bt) insecticidal proteins has rapidly evolved with the expansion of the planting area of transgenic Bt crops. Pyramiding RNA interference (RNAi) and Bt in crops is urgently needed to counter the rapid increase in pest resistance. The ideal "pyramid" strategy simultaneously targets different action pathways that exert synergetic effects on each other. Here, we identified a dephosphatase, namely, <i>Helicoverpa armigera</i> calcineurin (HaCAN), which might enhance the insecticidal activity of Cry1Ac against <i>Helicoverpa armigera</i> by regulating immune gene expression via dephosphatase activity, but not by acting as a receptor. Notably, blocking enzyme activity or knocking down endogenous HaCAN significantly promoted the enhancement in Cry1Ac toxicity to insect larvae and cells. Correspondingly, the increase in HaCAN activity reduced the cytotoxicity of Cry1Ac as shown by the heterologous expression of HaCAN. Our results provide a probable that HaCAN is an important candidate gene for pyramiding RNAi and Cry1Ac crops to control cotton bollworm.
Project description:To improve the novel Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal gene cry2Ah1 toxicity, two mutants cry2Ah1-vp (V354VP) and cry2Ah1-sp (V354SP) were performed. SWISS-MODEL analysis showed two mutants had a longer loop located between ?-4 and ?-5 of domain II, resulting in higher binding affinity with brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV) of Helicoverpa armigera comparing with Cry2Ah1. The cry2Ah1, cry2Ah1-vp, and cry2Ah1-sp were optimized codon usage according to plant codon bias, and named mcry2Ah1, mcry2Ah1-vp, and mcry2Ah1-sp. They were transformed into tobacco via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and a total of 4, 8, and 24 transgenic tobacco plants were obtained, respectively. The molecular detection showed the exogenous gene was integrated into tobacco genome, and successfully expressed at the transcript and translation levels. Cry2Ah1 protein in transgenic tobacco plants varied from 4.41 to 40.28??g?g-1 fresh weight. Insect bioassays indicated that all transgenic tobacco plants were highly toxic to both susceptible and Cry1Ac-resistant cotton bollworm larvae, and the insect resistance efficiency to Cry1Ac-resistant cotton bollworm was highest in mcry2Ah1-sp transgenic tobacco plants. The results demonstrated that cry2Ah1 was a useful Bt insecticidal gene to susceptible and Cry1Ac-resistant cotton bollworm and had potential application for insect biocontrol and as a candidate for pyramid strategy in Bt crops.
Project description:Plant proteinase inhibitors (PIs) are plant defense proteins and considered as potential candidates for engineering plant resistances against herbivores. Capsicum annuum proteinase inhibitor (CanPI7) is a multi-domain potato type II inhibitor (Pin-II) containing four inhibitory repeat domains (IRD), which target major classes of digestive enzymes in the gut of Helicoverpa armigera larvae. Stable integration and expression of the transgene in T1 transgenic generation, were confirmed by established molecular techniques. Protein extract of transgenic tomato lines showed increased inhibitory activity against H. armigera gut proteinases, supporting those domains of CanPI7 protein to be effective and active. When T1 generation plants were analyzed, they exhibited antibiosis effect against first instar larvae of H. armigera. Further, larvae fed on transgenic tomato leaves showed delayed growth relative to larvae fed on control plants, but did not change mortality rates significantly. Thus, better crop protection can be achieved in transgenic tomato by overexpression of multi-domain proteinase inhibitor CanPI7 gene against H. armigera larvae.
Project description:Evolution of resistance by insects threatens the continued success of pest control using insecticidal crystal (Cry) proteins from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in sprays and transgenic plants. In this study, laboratory selection with Cry1Ac yielded five strains of cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera, with resistance ratios at the median lethal concentration (LC50) of activated Cry1Ac ranging from 22 to 1700. Reduced activity and reduced transcription of an alkaline phosphatase protein that binds Cry1Ac was associated with resistance to Cry1Ac in the four most resistant strains. A Cry1Ac-binding fragment of alkaline phosphatase from H. armigera (HaALP1f) was not toxic by itself, but it increased mortality caused by Cry1Ac in a susceptible strain and in all five resistant strains. Although synergism of Bt toxins against susceptible insects by toxin-binding fragments of cadherin and aminopeptidase N has been reported previously, the results here provide the first evidence of synergism of a Bt toxin by a toxin-binding fragment of alkaline phosphatase. The results here also provide the first evidence of synergism of a Bt toxin by any toxin-binding peptide against resistant insects.
Project description:The cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera is the major insect pest targeted by cotton genetically engineered to produce the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin (transgenic Bt cotton) in the Old World. The evolution of this pest's resistance to B. thuringiensis toxins is the main threat to the long-term effectiveness of transgenic Bt cotton. A deletion mutation allele (r(1)) of a cadherin gene (Ha_BtR) was previously identified as genetically linked with Cry1Ac resistance in a laboratory-selected strain of H. armigera. Using a biphasic screen strategy, we successfully trapped two new cadherin alleles (r(2) and r(3)) associated with Cry1Ac resistance from a field population of H. armigera collected from the Yellow River cotton area of China in 2005. The r(2) and r(3) alleles, respectively, were created by inserting the long terminal repeat of a retrotransposon (designated HaRT1) and the intact HaRT1 retrotransposon at the same position in exon 8 of Ha_BtR, which results in a truncated cadherin containing only two ectodomain repeats in the N terminus of Ha_BtR. This is the first time that the B. thuringiensis resistance alleles of a target insect of Bt crops have been successfully detected in the open field. This study also demonstrated that bollworm larvae carrying two resistance alleles can complete development on Bt cotton. The cadherin locus should be an important target for intensive DNA-based screening of field populations of H. armigera.
Project description:<i>Bacillus thuringiensis</i> toxin proteins are deployed in transgenic plants for pest management. The present studies were aimed at characterization of gut bacterial proteases involved in activation of inactive Cry1Ac protoxin (pro-Cry1Ac) to active toxin in <i>Helicoverpa armigera.</i> Bacterial strains were isolated from <i>H. armigera</i> midgut and screened for their proteolytic activation toward pro-Cry1Ac. Among 12 gut bacterial isolates seven isolates showed proteolytic activity, and proteases from three isolates (IVS1, IVS2, and IVS3) were found to be involved in the proteolytic conversion of pro-Cry1Ac into active toxin. The proteases from IVS1, IVS2, and IVS3 isolates were purified to 11.90-, 15.50-, and 17.20-fold, respectively. The optimum pH and temperature for gut bacterial protease activity was 8.0 and 40°C. Maximum inhibition of total proteolytic activity was exerted by phenylmethane sulfonyl fluoride followed by EDTA. Fluorescence zymography revealed that proteases from IVS1, IVS2, and IVS3 were chymotrypsin-like and showing protease band at ~15, 65, and 15 kDa, respectively. Active Cry1Ac formed from processing pro-Cry1Ac by gut bacterial proteases exhibited toxicity toward <i>H. armigera</i>. The gut bacterial isolates IVS1, IVS2, and IVS3 showed homology with <i>B. thuringiensis</i> (CP003763.1), <i>Vibrio fischeri</i> (CP000020.2), and <i>Escherichia coli</i> (CP011342.1), respectively. Proteases produced by midgut bacteria are involved in proteolytic processing of <i>B. thuringiensis</i> protoxin and play a major role in inducing pathogenicity of <i>B. thuringiensis</i> toxins in <i>H. armigera</i>.