Departmental Papers (Dental)

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Journal Article

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Plant Biotechnology Journal





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Broad spectrum protection against different insects and pathogens requires multigene engineering. However, such broad spectrum protection against biotic stress is provided by a single protein in some medicinal plants. Therefore, tobacco chloroplasts were transformed with the agglutinin gene from Pinellia ternata (pta), a widely cultivated Chinese medicinal herb. Pinellia ternata agglutinin (PTA) was expressed up to 9.2% of total soluble protein in mature leaves. Purified PTA showed similar hemagglutination activity as snowdrop lectin. Artificial diet with purified PTA from transplastomic plants showed marked and broad insecticidal activity. In planta bioassays conducted with T0 or T1 generation PTA lines showed that the growth of aphid Myzus persicae (Sulzer) was reduced by 89%–92% when compared with untransformed (UT) plants. Similarly, the larval survival and total population of whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) on transplastomic lines were reduced by 91%–93% when compared with UT plants. This is indeed the first report of lectin controlling whitefly infestation. When transplastomic PTA leaves were fed to corn earworm (Helicoverpa zea), tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) or the beet armyworm (spodoptera exigua), 100% mortality was observed against all these three insects. In planta bioassays revealed Erwiniapopulation to be 10 000-fold higher in control than in PTA lines. Similar results were observed with tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) challenge. Therefore, broad spectrum resistance to homopteran (sap-sucking), Lepidopteran insects as well as anti-bacterial or anti-viral activity observed in PTA lines provides a new option to engineer protection against biotic stress by hyper-expression of an unique protein that is naturally present in a medicinal plant.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jin, S., Zhang, X., & Daniell, H. (2012). Pinellia ternata agglutinin expression in chloroplasts confers broad spectrum resistance against aphid, whitefly, Lepidopteran insects, bacterial and viral pathogens. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 10(3), 313–327., which has been published in final form at [Link to final article using the]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving [link to].


At the time of publication, author Henry Daniell was affiliated with University of Central Florida. Currently, he is a faculty member at the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.


Broad spectrum biotic stress tolerance, chloroplast transformation, antimicrobial, insect resistance

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Dentistry Commons



Date Posted: 01 March 2022

This document has been peer reviewed.