Plant Biotechnol J 2010 Aug;8(6):678-90
Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Havana, Cuba.
Plant defensins are small cysteine-rich peptides that inhibit the growth of a broad range of microbes. In this article, we describe NmDef02, a novel cDNA encoding a putative defensin isolated from Nicotiana megalosiphon upon inoculation with the tobacco blue mould pathogen Peronospora hyoscyami f.sp. tabacina. NmDef02 was heterologously expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris, and the purified recombinant protein was found to display antimicrobial activity in vitro against important plant pathogens. Constitutive expression of NmDef02 gene in transgenic tobacco and potato plants enhanced resistance against various plant microbial pathogens, including the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, causal agent of the economically important potato late blight disease, under greenhouse and field conditions.