Crop Biotech Update

MsSN1 Gene from Alfalfa Grants Antimicrobial Activity without Affecting Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria

September 24, 2014

Plant snakin peptides inhibit bacterial and fungal growth at extremely low concentrations. However, not much is known about them and their activity against beneficial microbes. A study conducted by the team of Gabriela Soto, from Instituto de Genética Ewald A. Favret, aimed to identify and characterize snakin-1 from alfalfa (MsSN1).

Analysis proves the antimicrobial activity of MsSN1 against bacterial and fungal pathogens of alfalfa. Transgenic alfalfa overexpressing MsSN1 showed increased antimicrobial activity against fungal strains without affecting nitrogen-fixing bacteria native to alfalfa. The results indicate that through a coevolutionary process, alfalfa exerted a selection pressure on microorganisms by selecting rhizobial bacteria resistant to MsSN1.

The increased antimicrobial activity against fungal strains without affecting the nitrogen-fixing bacteria observed in MsSN1-overexpressing plants opens the way to the production of effective legume transgenic cultivars for biotic stress resistance.

To learn more on the study, read here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/s12870-014-0248-9.pdf.