Insect resistance of transgenic tobacco plants expressing delta-endotoxin gene of Bacillus thuringiensis.
ABSTRACT The initiative B.thuringiensis delta-endotoxin (Bt toxin) gene clones TH12 and TH48 contain two different classes of homologous genes, the 5.3 kb class and 6.6 kb class, respectively. Bt toxin genes of both classes, modified at the 5'-end and truncated at the 3'-end, can still be expressed to produce the insecticidal, truncated toxin proteins in E. coli. The modified Bt toxin genes were inserted into the plant binary expression vector pBin 437 (a derivative plasmid of pBin 19) and were transferred into tobacco by Ti plasmid-mediated gene transfer system. Southern blot and DNA slot blot analysis indicate that the Bt toxin genes have been integrated into tobacco genome at a copy number of 1 to 5. Northern blot analysis of polyA+ RNAs from progeny of the transgenic plants revealed that Bt toxin genes of both 5.3 kb and 6.6 kb classes were expressed in transgenic plants, though the transcripts were degraded to RNAs of lower molecular weights. In insecticidal test, 5 plants from the progeny of 5.3 kb class gene-transformed SR1 tobacco plants and 3 plants from those of 6.6 kb class gene-transformed plants were found to be toxic to the testing larvea of H.assulta. In comparison with the control, mortality of the insects fed on transgenic plants reached 40-50% and the growth of the survived insects was remarkably inhibited. These results indicate that the modified Bt genes of the 5.3 kb and 6.6 kb classes were expressed in transgenic plants and could confer on the transgenic plants a new character of insect resistance.
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