Plant Biotechnology Journal

31 May 2019 - By: Jim Ruddock

New antifungal proteins in plant biofactories

Shi X, Cordero T, Garrigues S, et al. 2018. Efficient production of antifungal proteins in plants using a new transient expression vector derived from tobacco mosaic virus.Plant Biotechnology Journal, DOI: 10.1111/pbi.13038

Disease-causing fungi that infect plants, animals, and humans pose a serious threat to human and animal health, food security, and ecosystem resilience. In this article, Shi et al. report the production of antifungal proteins (AFPs) in plant biofactories to yields of commercial relevance. The authors describe a new tobacco mosaic virus-derived expression system that is simpler than other reported viral vectors, that allows easy and fast cloning of open reading frames of interest using the Gibson assembly reaction, and that provides open access to the scientific community through the Addgene repository. By using this new system, the authors successfully target Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, a plant from the tobacco family widely used in research, and found that these leaves produce large quantities of AFPs. These small bioactive proteins, as well as other antimicrobial peptides, are notoriously difficult to produce in different platforms, including plants. The authors found that transient expression using the new viral system and extracellular targeting favours high accumulation levels of AFPs. Additionally, the authors demonstrated the efficacy of the plant-produced AFPs in the protection of tomato plants against Botrytis cinerea grey mould infection. These findings may advance the exploitation of AFPs in multiple applications, and have a significant impact on the agri-food and pharmaceutical sectors.

Jim Ruddock, Managing Editor

Category: Plant Biotechnology Journal
Jim Ruddock - Author Profile

Jim Ruddock

Jim Ruddock is the Editorial Manager for The Plant Journal and Plant Biotechnology Journal, and manages all processes of each journal through the peer review system – from submission to acceptance and export of final files to the Production department. Currently at Wiley, Jim has 23 year’s of experience working in science journal publishing environments in various capacities.