1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The main objective is to devise root maggot control strategies by genetically engineering sugar beet for production of recombinant proteinase inhibitor proteins that target the digestive proteases of the sugar beet root maggot, a major pest of sugar beet.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Several proteinase inhibitor genes cloned from sugar beet or from tobacco will be introduced into sugar beet hairy root cultures and used in insect bioassays to characterize the functional role of these genes in pest resistance.
Sugar beet provides up to half of all sugar consumed in the U.S. and the world. Sugar yields are reduced by damage caused by diseases and insect pests. To improve disease resistance, which is the goal of the parent project, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control plant defense responses is needed. In this research, an enrichment technique was utilized to identify and characterize a sugar beet root gene that is involved in the makeup of the outer layer of the root (cell wall). This outer layer serves as a first line of defense (barrier) against invading insect pests or microbial pathogens. The newly gained knowledge will be used to develop new varieties of plants with stronger cell walls that will improve disease resistance in economically important plants. This project was monitored by e-mail, phone conversations, and meetings with collaborators at the Beet Sugar Development Foundation.