The soybean ubiquitous urease (encoded by GmEu4) is responsible for recycling metabolically derived urea. Additional biological roles have been demonstrated for plant ureases, notably in toxicity to other organisms. However, urease enzymatic activity is not related to its toxicity. The role of GmEu4 in soybean susceptibility to fungi was investigated in this study. A differential expression pattern of GmEu4 was observed in susceptible and resistant genotypes of soybeans over the course of a Phakopsora pachyrhizi infection, especially 24 h after infection. Twenty-nine adult, transgenic soybean plants, representing six independently transformed lines, were obtained. Although the initial aim of this study was to overexpress GmEu4, the transgenic plants exhibited GmEu4 co-suppression and decreased ureolytic activity. The growth of Rhizoctonia solani, Phomopsis sp., and Penicillium herguei in media containing a crude protein extract from either transgenic or non-transgenic leaves was evaluated. The fungal growth was higher in the protein extracts from transgenic urease-deprived plants than in extracts from non-transgenic controls. When infected by P. pachyrhizi uredospores, detached leaves of urease-deprived plants developed a significantly higher number of lesions, pustules and erupted pustules than leaves of non-transgenic plants containing normal levels of the enzyme. The results of the present work show that the soybean plants were more susceptible to fungi in the absence of urease. It was not possible to overexpress active GmEu4. For future work, overexpression of urease fungitoxic peptides could be attempted as an alternative approach.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2012
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