Pokeweed antiviral protein II (PAPII), a 30 kDa protein isolated from leaves of Phytolacca americana, inhibits translation by catalytically removing a specific adenine residue from the large rRNA of the 60S subunit of eukaryotic ribosomes. The protein sequence of PAPII shows only 41% identity to PAP and PAP-S, two other antiviral proteins isolated from pokeweed. We isolated a cDNA corresponding to PAPII and introduced it into tobacco plants. PAPII expressed in transgenic tobacco was correctly processed to the mature form as in pokeweed and accumulated to at least 10-fold higher levels than wild-type PAP. We had previously observed a significant decrease in transformation frequency with PAP and recovered only two transgenic lines expressing 1–2 ng per mg protein. In contrast, eight different transgenic lines expressing up to 250 ng/mg PAPII were recovered, indicating that PAPII is less toxic than PAP. Two symptomless transgenic lines expressing PAPII were resistant to tobacco mosaic virus, potato virus X and the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. The level of viral and fungal resistance observed correlated well with the amount of PAPII protein accumulated. Pathogenesis-related protein PR1 was constitutively expressed in transgenic lines expressing PAPII. Although PR1 was constitutively expressed, no increase in salicylic acid levels was detected, indicating that PAPII may elicit a salicylic acid-independent signal transduction pathway.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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