Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 19, 2008
Publication Date: December 20, 2009
Citation: Rajasekaran, K., Jaynes, J.M., Cary, J.W. 2009. Transgenic Expression of Lytic Peptides in Food and Feed Crops to Control Phytopathogens and Preharvest Mycotoxin Contamination. Mycotoxin Prevention and Control in Agriculture. American Chemical Society Symposium Series. 1031(9):119-142. Technical Abstract: Transgenic crops are widely cultivated in several countries to control crop losses due to insects and weeds. However, disease resistant transgenic crops that can withstand infections due to fungal and bacterial pathogens are not yet available due to several reasons. The primary reasons are 1) host plant-pathogen interaction is a very complex phenomenon and it is often crop/variety or pathogen/strain–specific; 2) natural antimicrobial proteins and peptides are unstable, lack specificity and may be toxic to non-target species; 3) large scale production of antimicrobial proteins and peptides are very expensive and 4) microbial pathogens can develop resistance to natural proteins and peptides. Recent advances in combinatorial chemistry and automated peptide synthesis have paved the way for rational design of stable, potent, and novel synthetic peptides with target-specific biological activity. Some of these lytic synthetic peptides have been already expressed in transgenic plants with varying degrees of success towards control of fungal and bacterial plant pathogens including some fungal pathogens that cause contamination of food and feed crops with mycotoxins. This review gives a brief account of recent developments regarding the use of lytic peptides in transgenic plant system to control crop losses due to microbial pathogens and mycotoxin contamination.