Submitted to: Annual Meeting and Expo of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2005
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Antimicrobial proteins and peptides (AMPs) are produced in nature by a multitude of organisms including bacteria, fungi, insects, amphibians, plants, and mammals for protection against invading microbes. Some of the antifungal proteins such as chitinases, glucanases, protease inhibitors, nucleases, and ribosome inactivating proteins have been shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity in transgenic plants. Naturally occurring proteins and peptides are often subjected to degradation by cytoplasmic proteases, less effective at lower concentrations, and do not offer target specificity. The advent of automated peptide synthesizers and combinatorial peptide chemistry has made it possible to rapidly synthesize and screen large number of peptides for their ability to inhibit the growth of target microbial pathogens. We have demonstrated the antifungal effects of several synthetic peptides in our laboratory. Transgenic tobacco and cotton plants expressing a synthetic peptide have shown antifungal activities against several phytopathogens, including Aspergillus flavus that causes aflatoxin contamination of several oilseed crops such as corn, peanut, and cotton.