Biotech Updates

Genes from Chickweed Increase Resistance to Fungi

July 8, 2011

In a previous study, two antifungal peptides (SmAMP1.1a and SmAMP2.2a) were isolated from a plant commonly known as chickweed (Stellaria media). It was found that the peptides were formed in chickweeds when two propeptides (pro-SmAMP1 and pro-SmAMP2) are degraded. Rahim Shukurov of Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and colleagues reported that expression of the two propeptides was tissue-specific and increased significantly when exposed to fungal infection.

The researchers made three genetic constructs based on pro-SmAMP1 gene to investigate if chickweed has any advantages in defending against phytopathogens due to the unique structure of the propeptides. They used Arabidopsis and tobacco plants transformed with the constructs.

Results showed that the transgenic plants containing the complete pro-SmAMP1 gene exhibited the highest resistance to phytopathogens Bipolaris sorokiniana and Thielaviopsis basicola. The resistance of chickweeds could be attributed to the fungal-inducible expression of the proSmAMP1 and pro-SmAMP2 genes and due to some special features of the structure of the corresponding propeptides. When these two propeptides undergo a particular process, two different antimicrobial peptides were released. Thus, these genes from chickweed  can be used in developing plant resistance against fungal diseases.

Know more about the study at