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Nicotiana benthamiana is a suitable transient system for high-level expression of an active inhibitor of cotton boll weevil α-amylase

Prado, Guilherme Souza, Bamogo, Pingdwende Kader Aziz, de Abreu, Joel Antônio Cordeiro, Gillet, François-Xavier, dos Santos, Vanessa Olinto, Silva, Maria Cristina Mattar, Brizard, Jean-Paul, Bemquerer, Marcelo Porto, Bangratz, Martine, Brugidou, Christophe, Sérémé, Drissa, Grossi-de-Sa, Maria Fatima, Lacombe, Séverine
BMC biotechnology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 15
Anthonomus grandis, Gossypium hirsutum, Nicotiana benthamiana, alpha-amylase, bioactive properties, breeding, cotton, crops, enzyme inhibitors, evolution, genes, heterologous gene expression, insect pests, insect resistance, matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry, pathogens, proteins, tandem mass spectrometry, transgenic plants
BACKGROUND: Insect resistance in crops represents a main challenge for agriculture. Transgenic approaches based on proteins displaying insect resistance properties are widely used as efficient breeding strategies. To extend the spectrum of targeted pathogens and overtake the development of resistance, molecular evolution strategies have been used on genes encoding these proteins to generate thousands of variants with new or improved functions. The cotton boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is one of the major pests of cotton in the Americas. An α-amylase inhibitor (α-AIC3) variant previously developed via molecular evolution strategy showed inhibitory activity against A. grandis α-amylase (AGA). RESULTS: We produced in a few days considerable amounts of α-AIC3 using an optimised transient heterologous expression system in Nicotiana benthamiana. This high α-AIC3 accumulation allowed its structural and functional characterizations. We demonstrated via MALDI-TOF MS/MS technique that the protein was processed as expected. It could inhibit up to 100% of AGA biological activity whereas it did not act on α-amylase of two non-pathogenic insects. These data confirmed that N. benthamiana is a suitable and simple system for high-level production of biologically active α-AIC3. Based on other benefits such as economic, health and environmental that need to be considerate, our data suggested that α-AIC3 could be a very promising candidate for the production of transgenic crops resistant to cotton boll weevil without lethal effect on at least two non-pathogenic insects. CONCLUSIONS: We propose this expression system can be complementary to molecular evolution strategies to identify the most promising variants before starting long-lasting stable transgenic programs.