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An alternative strategy for sustainable pest resistance in genetically enhanced crops

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD


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Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crystal protein genes encode insecticidal δ-endotoxins that are widely used for the development of insect-resistant crops. In this article, we describe an alternative transgenic strategy that has the potential to generate broader and more sustainable levels of resistance against insect pests. Our strategy involves engineering plants with a fusion protein combining the δ-endotoxin Cry1Ac with the galactose-binding domain of the nontoxic ricin B-chain (RB). This fusion, designated BtRB, provides the toxin with additional, binding domains, thus increasing the potential number of interactions at the molecular level in target insects. Transgenic rice and maize plants engineered to express the fusion protein were significantly more toxic in insect bioassays than those containing the Bt gene alone. They were also resistant to a wider range of insects, including important pests that are not normally susceptible to Bt toxins. The potential impact of fusion genes such as BtRB in terms of crop improvement, resistance sustainability, and biosafety is discussed. © 2005 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mehlo L, Gahakwa D, Nghia PT, Loc NT, Capell T, Gatehouse JA, Gatehouse AMR, Christou P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Year: 2005

Volume: 102

Issue: 22

Pages: 7812-7816

Print publication date: 31/05/2005

ISSN (print): 0027-8424

ISSN (electronic): 1091-6490

Publisher: National Academy of Sciences


DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0502871102

PubMed id: 15908504


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