Submitted to: Peanut Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2002
Publication Date: 12/15/2002
Citation: CHENAULT, K.D., BURNS, J.A., MELOUK, H.A. HYDROLASE ACTIVITY IN TRANSGENIC PEANUT. PEANUT SCIENCE. 2002. v. 29. p. 89-95. Interpretive Summary: Fungal diseases of peanut are responsible for increased production costs and severe yield losses for peanut producers in the United States. Very few peanut cultivars with resistance to fungal disease have been developed through traditional breeding practices. In an attempt to fulfill the urgent need for fungal-resistant peanut cultivars, we 1) produced transgenic peanut plant lines, via microprojectile bombardment, that produce anti- fungal chemicals, and 2) determined the levels of anti-fungal chemicals being produced by those plant lines. In most lines examined, increased anti-fungal chemical activity was found, which should increase the amount of resistance to fungal infection exhibited by these plants without the application of fungicides. The information gathered from these studies will 1) be useful to other scientists studying methods to increase resistance to fungal infection, and 2) further the production and eventual release of fungal-resistant peanut cultivars that will benefit peanut producers by lowering their production costs and increasing yield.
Technical Abstract: Fungal diseases of peanut are responsible for increased production costs and yield losses of up to 50% for peanut producers in the United States. Few cultivars with disease resistance have been developed through traditional breeding practices. There is an urgent need for developing peanut cultivars that are resistant to the broad spectrum of fungal pathogens that pose a recurring threat to peanut health. Hydrolases such a chitinase and beta-1-3-glucanase are known to degrade the cell walls of many fungi that attack plants, making them rational candidates for over- expression through genetic engineering to produce disease-resistant crops. Somatic embryos of a peanut cultivar, Okrun, were transformed with a chitinase gene from rice and/or a beta-1-3-glucanase from alfalfa via microprojectile bombardment. Regenerated Okrun lines were tested for the presence of the transgenes by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern blot and for transgene expression by colorimetric assays. Transgenic lines exhibited hydrolase activities 0-60% above levels observed in non- transformed Okrun plants.