Lepidopteran larvae are the most injurious pests of Chinese cabbage production. We attempted the development of transgenic Chinese cabbage expressing the potato proteinase inhibitor II gene (pinII) and bioassayed the pest-repelling ability of these transgenic plants. Cotyledons with petioles from aseptic seedlings were used as explants for Agrobacterium-mediated in vitro transformation. Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 contained the binary vector pBBBasta-pinII-bar comprising pinII and bar genes. Plants showing vigorous PPT resistance were obtained by a series concentration selection for PPT resistance and subsequent regeneration of leaf explants dissected from the putative chimera. Transgenic plants were confirmed by PCR and genomic Southern blotting, which showed that the bar and pinII genes were integrated into the plant genome. Double haploid homozygous transgenic plants were obtained by microspore culture. The pinII expression was detected using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and detection of PINII protein content in the transgenic homozygous lines. Insect-feeding trials using the larvae of cabbage worm (Pieris rapae) and the larvae of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) showed higher larval mortality, stunted larval development, and lower pupal weights, pupation rates, and eclosion rates in most of the transgenic lines in comparison with the corresponding values in the non-transformed wild-type line.
Keywords: transgenic Chinese cabbage, Pieris rapae, Plutella xylostella, insect resistance, proteinase inhibitor gene II (pinII), chimera