Author(s): Bettini P, Michelotti S, Bindi D, Giannini R, Capuana M,
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Abstract The Agrobacterium rhizogenes rolD gene, coding for an ornithine cyclodeaminase involved in the biosynthesis of proline from ornithine, has been inserted in Lycopersicon esculentum cv Tondino with the aim of studying its effects on plant morphological characters including pathogen defense response. The analysis of plants transgenic for rolD did not show major morphological modifications. First generation transgenic plants however were found to flower earlier, and showed an increased number of inflorescences and higher fruit yield. Transformed plants were also analysed for parameters linked to pathogen defense response, i.e. ion leakage in the presence of the toxin produced by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici, and expression of the pathogenesis-related PR-1 gene. All the plants harbouring the rolD gene were shown to be more tolerant to the toxin in ion leakage experiments, with respect to the untransformed regenerated controls and the cv Tondino. PR-1 gene expression was quantitated by means of real-time PCR both at the basal level and after treatment with salicylic acid, an inducer of Systemic Acquired Resistance. In both cases the amount of PR-1 mRNA was higher in the transgenic plants. It seems therefore that the transformation of tomato plants with rolD could lead to an increased competence for defense response, as shown by toxin tolerance and increased expression of the Systemic Acquired Resistance marker gene PR-1. The results are finally discussed in view of their possible economic relevance.
This article was published in Theor Appl Genet
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology