Submitted to: Acta Physiologiae Plantarum
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/18/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Insect infestations of major US crops are responsible for significant yield losses that can be economically devastating to the farmers. Novel approaches that are cost effective and do not pollute the environment are needed for controlling insects. We isolated a tomato gene that codes for an enzyme that is likely involved in the synthesis of compounds with insecticidal activity and powerful anti-cancer drugs. We showed that wounding of the leaves increased the production of this enzyme in tomato plants. The tomato gene could potentially be tapped by agricultural biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies for production of genetically engineered tomato plants that synthesize higher quantities of the insect-killing and/or anti-cancer substances. Other scientists will gain valuable information to further manipulate the key enzymes in the plant processes required to produce compounds for insect resistance. Efficient production of insect controlling substances would benefit both farmers and consumers and would provide an environmentally friendly approach for controlling insect pests.
Technical Abstract: A cDNA clone sharing high sequence similarity to Nicotiana plumbaginifolia cytochrome P450 monooxygenase was cloned from Lycopersicon esculentum cv. 'Rutgers'. The tomato cDNA has a full open reading frame and 75% protein sequence identity to Nicotiana plumbaginifolia P450 (CYP72A2) that is wound- and cytokinin-inducible. Its genomic sequence contains 3 short introns. Expression of the P450 gene was highest in young tissues. Leaf transcript levels increased in response to mechanical wounding but applications of the cytokinin zeatin had no effect on the tomato P450 gene expression.