Antimicrobial Peptides Against Crops Disease

Tidsperiod: 2017-01-01 till 2018-12-31

Projektledare: Martin Malmsten

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Stöd till forskningsmiljö

Budget: 352 000 SEK

With an ever-increasing world population, the challenge remains to increase crop production in a sustainable way, so as not to exhaust the land of its potency for future uses. In this context, plant disease emerges as one of the major reasons for the loss of crop yield, where presently used and pesticides and antimicrobial agents pose problems related to toxicity, incomplete biodegradation, and resistance development. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents for crops. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), naturally occuring key components of innate immunity in plants, can offer an attractive solution to this persistent problem owing to their lysis of microbial membranes, resulting in rapid killing and broad-spectrum activity. In order to allow for a cost-effective way of peptide delivery, we now plan to develop transgenic tomato plants using two AMPs recently identified in our laboratories to possess potent antimicrobial activity against key pathogens responsible for disease in tomato plants. In doing so, we also aim to clarify the regulation of disease in host plants, at the molecular level, upon peptide treatment. The overall aim of the proposed project is to 1) identify key factors for transgenic incorporation, in tomato, of these peptides and variants thereof; 2) to evaluate functional performance regarding antimicrobial effect and toxicity both in vitro and in planta; and 3) to clarify the mode of action, from expression to antimicrobial action.