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GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS FOR BACTERIAL DISEASE RESISTANCE Introduction: Plant diseases cause 14.

1% of crop losses annually (Agrios, 2008). Among the various agrotechniques used for the management of plant diseases, host plant resistance is the most promising one. Plant breeding has been used to evolve many disease resistant crop varieties. But, there is no resistant source available in the case of some pathogens. Genetic engineering to develop transgenic plants with desired genes from any source has been evolved as a solution to this problem. The development of virus-resistant transgenic plants in the mid-1980s heralded a new era in the disease management. Enormous progress made in the understanding of highly complex molecular events that occur during plant-pathogen interactions form the basis for new and viable approaches for engineering resistance to pathogens in crops. Some of the identified potential genes or gene products are normally expressed in plants, but, takes long time to reach an effective concentration following pathogen invasion. To overcome this situation transgenic plants are made capable of over-expressing genes of interest at an early stage, preferably with constitutive expression throughout the plant system. Approaches employed for transgenic bacterial disease resistance are 1) enhancement of natural plant defense mechanism, 2) inhibition of bacterial virulence factors and 3) expression of antimicrobial proteins. 1. Enhancement of natural plant defense mechanism 1.1 Deployment of R genes Resistance in tomato to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato requires Pto and Prf. Over-expression of Prf in tomato reduce symptom development by Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria and Ralstonia solanacearum (Oldroyd and Staskawicz, 1998).

1.2 Activation of signal transduction pathway Constitutive expression of an H2O2 generating glucose oxidase gene from Aspergillus niger in transgenic potatoes conferred strong resistance to bacterial soft rot disease caused by Erwinia carotovora (Wu et al., 1995). 1.3 Expression of plant derived anti-apoptotic genes The putative anti-apoptotic genes from V. californica transferred to grape suppress PCD induced by Xylella fastidiosa and the commensurate PD disease symptoms (Gilchrist and Lincoln, 2008). 1.4 Quenching quorum sensing A novel strategy for controlling pathogenesis of bacteria can be the engineered interference with their cell-to-cell communication. 2. Inhibition of bacterial virulence factors 2.1 Transgenic plants expressing toxin detoxification mechanisms Non-host specific toxins can be considered as targets to control plant pathogenic bacteria. 2.2 Transgenic plants expressing antibodies Specific binding of antibodies to one or more bacterial factors, such as secreted lytic enzymes or extracellular proteins, is expected to compromise bacterial pathogenicity. 3. Expression of antimicrobial proteins (AMPs) AMPs including PR proteins provided the basis of first generation approach for making transgenic disease resistant plants. AMPs like Attacin and Cecropin from giant silk moth (Hyalophora cecropia), Indolicidin from cow, Lysozyme from chicken, cow and human,

Magainin and esculentin from African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), PR proteins, etc. used to enhance resistance to bacterial diseases. References Agrios, G. N. 2008. Plant Pathology. Academic Press, California. 922 p Gilchrist, D. and Lincoln, J. 2008. Systemic control of Pierces Disease by altered expression of anti-apoptotic genes or their RNA-based regulatory elements. Pierces Disease Research Symposium Proceedings. San Diego, December 15-17 Oldroyd, G. D. and Staskawicz, B. J. 1998. Genetically engineered broad-spectrum disease resistance in tomato. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95: 1030010305 Wu, G., Shortt, B. J., Lawrence, E. B., Levine, E.B., Fitzsimmons, K. C. and Shah, D. M. 1995. Disease resistance conferred by expression of a gene encoding H202-generating glucose oxidase in transgenic potato plants. The Plant Cell. 7: 1357-1368