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1.  Transgenic Cotton Plants Expressing Cry1Ia12 Toxin Confer Resistance to Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) and Cotton Boll Weevil (Anthonomus grandis) 
Gossypium hirsutum (commercial cooton) is one of the most economically important fibers sources and a commodity crop highly affected by insect pests and pathogens. Several transgenic approaches have been developed to improve cotton resistance to insect pests, through the transgenic expression of different factors, including Cry toxins, proteinase inhibitors, and toxic peptides, among others. In the present study, we developed transgenic cotton plants by fertilized floral buds injection (through the pollen-tube pathway technique) using an DNA expression cassette harboring the cry1Ia12 gene, driven by CaMV35S promoter. The T0 transgenic cotton plants were initially selected with kanamycin and posteriorly characterized by PCR and Southern blot experiments to confirm the genetic transformation. Western blot and ELISA assays indicated the transgenic cotton plants with higher Cry1Ia12 protein expression levels to be further tested in the control of two major G. hirsutum insect pests. Bioassays with T1 plants revealed the Cry1Ia12 protein toxicity on Spodoptera frugiperda larvae, as evidenced by mortality up to 40% and a significant delay in the development of the target insects compared to untransformed controls (up to 30-fold). Also, an important reduction of Anthonomus grandis emerging adults (up to 60%) was observed when the insect larvae were fed on T1 floral buds. All the larvae and adult insect survivors on the transgenic lines were weaker and significantly smaller compared to the non-transformed plants. Therefore, this study provides GM cotton plant with simultaneous resistance against the Lepidopteran (S. frugiperda), and the Coleopteran (A. grandis) insect orders, and all data suggested that the Cry1Ia12 toxin could effectively enhance the cotton transgenic plants resistance to both insect pests.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2016.00165
PMCID: PMC4759279  PMID: 26925081
Gossypium hirsutum; genetic cotton transformation; pollen-tube pathway; Cry1Ia12; Anthonomus grandis; Spodoptera frugiperda
2.  Isolation and functional characterization of a cotton ubiquitination-related promoter and 5'UTR that drives high levels of expression in root and flower tissues 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:115.
Background
Cotton (Gossypium spp.) is an important crop worldwide that provides raw material to 40% of the textile fiber industry. Important traits have been studied aiming the development of genetically modified crops including resistance to insect and diseases, and tolerance to drought, cold and herbicide. Therefore, the characterization of promoters and regulatory regions is also important to achieve high gene expression and/or a specific expression pattern. Commonly, genes involved in ubiquitination pathways are highly and differentially expressed. In this study, we analyzed the expression of a cotton ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2) family member with no previous characterization.
Results
Nucleotide analysis revealed high identity with cotton E2 homologues. Multiple alignment showed a premature stop codon, which prevents the encoding of the conserved cysteine residue at the E2 active site, and an intron that is spliced in E2 homologues, but not in GhGDRP85. The GhGDRP85 gene is highly expressed in different organs of cotton plants, and has high transcript levels in roots. Its promoter (uceApro2) and the 5'UTR compose a regulatory region named uceA1.7, and were isolated from cotton and studied in Arabidopsis thaliana. uceA1.7 shows strong expression levels, equaling or surpassing the expression levels of CaMV35S. The uceA1.7 regulatory sequence drives GUS expression 7-fold higher in flowers, 2-fold in roots and at similar levels in leaves and stems. GUS expression levels are decreased 7- to 15-fold when its 5'UTR is absent in uceApro2.
Conclusions
uceA1.7 is a strong constitutive regulatory sequence composed of a promoter (uceApro2) and its 5'UTR that will be useful in genetic transformation of dicots, having high potential to drive high levels of transgene expression in crops, particularly for traits desirable in flower and root tissues.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-11-115
PMCID: PMC3239415  PMID: 22115195
3.  A new chitinase-like xylanase inhibitor protein (XIP) from coffee (Coffea arabica) affects Soybean Asian rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) spore germination 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:14.
Background
Asian rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) is a common disease in Brazilian soybean fields and it is difficult to control. To identify a biochemical candidate with potential to combat this disease, a new chitinase-like xylanase inhibitor protein (XIP) from coffee (Coffea arabica) (CaclXIP) leaves was cloned into the pGAPZα-B vector for expression in Pichia pastoris.
Results
A cDNA encoding a chitinase-like xylanase inhibitor protein (XIP) from coffee (Coffea arabica) (CaclXIP), was isolated from leaves. The amino acid sequence predicts a (β/α)8 topology common to Class III Chitinases (glycoside hydrolase family 18 proteins; GH18), and shares similarity with other GH18 members, although it lacks the glutamic acid residue essential for catalysis, which is replaced by glutamine. CaclXIP was expressed as a recombinant protein in Pichia pastoris. Enzymatic assay showed that purified recombinant CaclXIP had only residual chitinolytic activity. However, it inhibited xylanases from Acrophialophora nainiana by approx. 60% when present at 12:1 (w/w) enzyme:inhibitor ratio. Additionally, CaclXIP at 1.5 μg/μL inhibited the germination of spores of Phakopsora pachyrhizi by 45%.
Conclusions
Our data suggests that CaclXIP belongs to a class of naturally inactive chitinases that have evolved to act in plant cell defence as xylanase inhibitors. Its role on inhibiting germination of fungal spores makes it an eligible candidate gene for the control of Asian rust.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-11-14
PMCID: PMC3045311  PMID: 21299880
4.  α-Amylase inhibitor-1 gene from Phaseolus vulgaris expressed in Coffea arabica plants inhibits α-amylases from the coffee berry borer pest 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:44.
Background
Coffee is an important crop and is crucial to the economy of many developing countries, generating around US$70 billion per year. There are 115 species in the Coffea genus, but only two, C. arabica and C. canephora, are commercially cultivated. Coffee plants are attacked by many pathogens and insect-pests, which affect not only the production of coffee but also its grain quality, reducing the commercial value of the product. The main insect-pest, the coffee berry borer (Hypotheneumus hampei), is responsible for worldwide annual losses of around US$500 million. The coffee berry borer exclusively damages the coffee berries, and it is mainly controlled by organochlorine insecticides that are both toxic and carcinogenic. Unfortunately, natural resistance in the genus Coffea to H. hampei has not been documented. To overcome these problems, biotechnological strategies can be used to introduce an α-amylase inhibitor gene (α-AI1), which confers resistance against the coffee berry borer insect-pest, into C. arabica plants.
Results
We transformed C. arabica with the α-amylase inhibitor-1 gene (α-AI1) from the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, under control of the seed-specific phytohemagglutinin promoter (PHA-L). The presence of the α-AI1 gene in six regenerated transgenic T1 coffee plants was identified by PCR and Southern blotting. Immunoblotting and ELISA experiments using antibodies against α-AI1 inhibitor showed a maximum α-AI1 concentration of 0.29% in crude seed extracts. Inhibitory in vitro assays of the α-AI1 protein against H. hampei α-amylases in transgenic seed extracts showed up to 88% inhibition of enzyme activity.
Conclusions
This is the first report showing the production of transgenic coffee plants with the biotechnological potential to control the coffee berry borer, the most important insect-pest of crop coffee.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-10-44
PMCID: PMC2914071  PMID: 20565807

Results 1-4 (4)