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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392463

Research Project: Discovery and Production of Beneficial Microbes for Control of Agricultural Pests through Integration into Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Title: A maize lectin can function as a defensive protein against insect and fungal pests

item Dowd, Patrick
item Naumann, Todd
item Johnson, Eric

Submitted to: American Chemical Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2022
Publication Date: 8/21/2022
Citation: Dowd, P.F., Naumann, T.A., Johnson, E.T. 2022. A maize lectin can function as a defensive protein against insect and fungal pests [abstract]. American Chemical Society. Paper No. 3737991.

Interpretive Summary: Insects and disease significantly reduce the yields of corn. A new pest resistance gene was identified from corn that increased resistance to both insect and mold pests of corn when introduced into corn cells. Incorporation of this resistance gene into commercial hybrids of corn through breeding or other means should increase sustainable production, benefiting corn growers, corn buyers, and consumers.

Technical Abstract: A novel lectin gene was cloned from an ear rot resistant inbred of maize and expressed in maize callus and Pichia pastoris. Callus expressing the lectin gene significantly reduced growth of maize fungal (Fusarium spp.) and insect (fall armyworms and corn earworms) pests compared to control callus. Higher activity against pests was correlated with higher levels of the lectin in callus. The yeast-produced lectin caused clumping of germinating spores of Fusarium graminearum, which was inhibited by N-acetyl glucosamine but no other sugars tested. Examination of available sequences from several inbreeds indicated sequence disruptions that would likely result in a nonfunctional protein, making this gene a good candidate for gene editing in those cases.