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Crop Biotech Update

Nicotiana benthamiana as Suitable System for Expression of Cotton Boll Weevil α-amylase Inhibitor

March 20, 2019

Cotton boll weevil is one of the most destructive pests of cotton in the Americas. Institut de L'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA) scientist, Severine Lacombe, and colleagues developed an α-amylase inhibitor (α-AIC3) variant using molecular evolution strategy to impede the action of cotton boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis). The findings are published in BMC Biotechnology.

The researchers produced α-AIC3 using a temporary expression system in Nicotiana benthamiana, a relative of tobacco. Structural and functional characterization of α-AIC3 showed that it has the ability to inhibit up to 100% of A. grandis α-amylase, while it had no effect on the α-amylase of two other non-pathogenic insects.

The results imply that N. bethamiana is a suitable system for high-level production of biologically active α-AIC3. The data also suggest that α-AIC3 could be a potential candidate for the production of GM crops with resistance to cotton boll weevil.

Read the research article in BMC Biotechnology.