Crop Biotech Update

GE Tomato Expressing Bacterial Gene XnGroEL Shows Enhanced Resistance to Armyworm and Abiotic Stresses

September 30, 2015

The XnGroEL protein of Xenorhabdus nematophila belongs to a family of heat shock proteins (Hsps). Under normal conditions, Hsps facilitate folding, assembly, and translocation of cellular proteins, while in stress conditions. However, XnGroEL was also shown to possess oral insecticidal activity against armyworm (Helicoverpa armigera).

A team of scientists led by Punam Kumari developed transgenic tomato overexpressing insecticidal XnGroEL protein and evaluated their tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Presence of XnGroEL in the transgenic tomato lines conferred resistance against armyworm, leading to 100% mortality of neonates. In addition, XnGroEL also conferred thermotolerance and protection against high salt concentration to the tomato plants.

The enhanced tolerance to abiotic stresses correlated with increase in the anti-oxidative enzyme activity and reduced H2O2 accumulation in transgenic tomato plants. The variety of benefits displayed by XnGroEL provides an opportunity for value addition and improvement of crop productivity.

For more information on the study, read the article on Transgenic Research.