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Transgenic Nicotiana tabacum L. with enhanced trichome exudate cembratrieneols has reduced aphid infestation in the field

Wang, E., Hall, J.T., Wagner, G.J.
Molecular breeding 2004 v.13 no.1 pp. 49-57
plant exudates, Myzus, genetic resistance, antisense DNA, transgenic plants, trichomes, gene silencing, cytochrome P-450, diterpenoids, Nicotiana tabacum, pest resistance, tobacco
Glandular trichomes of many plants secrete natural products that influence plant/insect interactions. For example, tobacco varieties having relatively high cembratrieneols (CBTols) are known to have enhanced aphid resistance in the field. CBTols and corresponding CBTdiols comprise ~1.4 and ~62%, respectively, of trichome exudate in the aphid susceptible tobacco variety, T.I. 1068. Using this cultivar we suppressed the CYP71D16 gene that encodes the enzyme that converts CBTols to CBTdiols. In suppressed plants CBTols and CBTdiols accounted for about 27 and 35% of exudate weight, respectively. Total CBTols plus CBTdiols was not changed substantially. Here we studied the relationship between aphid infestation and increased exudate CBTols in the field using self progeny derived from 5 independent primary transgenic T. I. 1068 plants having suppressed CYP71D16 activity. Two hundred individual plants were scored for aphid infestation, and their trichome exudate compositions were determined by gas chromatography. A significant negative correlation was found between high CBTols levels in trichome exudates and aphid infestation. No aphid infestation was observed on the majority of plants with CBTols/CBTdiols ratios of >1.49, which represents a >20-fold increase in CBTols, and a >40% decrease in CBTdiols over control T.I. 1068 exudate. In contrast, aphid infestation occurred on most plants with CBTols/CBTdiols ratios <0.201, which is similar to that of the untransformed control T.I. 1068. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using metabolic engineering of glandular trichomes to enhance natural product-based pest resistance.