Submitted to: Entomologia Sinicae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2003
Publication Date: 9/1/2003
Citation: Li, H., Oppert, B.S., Zhu, K.Y., Higgins, R.A., Huang, F., Buschman, L.L. 2003. Transgenic plants expressing bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxins. Entomologia Sinicae 10:155-166. Interpretive Summary: Transgenic plants encoding insecticidal genes from Bacillus thuringiensis have great potential to efficiently control pest populations while minimizing environmental impact. However, expression of bacterial genes in plants required complicated modifications. By studying the molecular basis of low expression, researchers developed new techniques to enhance the plant expression of bacterial genes. This research has resulted in field crops expressing high levels of insecticidal proteins, and thus far these crops have been extremely successful. The developments are discussed with regards to IPM and resistance management.
Technical Abstract: Commercial varieties of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) plants have been developed in many countries to control target pests. Initially, the expression of native Bt genes in plants was low due to mRNA instability, improper splicing, and post-translation modifications. Subsequently, modifications of the native Bt genes greatly enhanced expression levels. This is a review of the developments that made modern high-expression transgenic Bt plants possible, with an emphasis on the reasons for the low-level expression of native Bt genes in plant systems, and the techniques that have been used to improve plant expression of Bt toxin genes.