Background: Programmed cell death plays an important role in mediating plant adaptive responses to the environment such as the invasion of pathogens. Verticillium wilt, caused by the necrotrophic pathogen Verticillium dahliae, is a serious vascular disease responsible for great economic losses to cotton, but the molecular mechanisms of verticillium disease and effective, safe methods of resistance to verticillium wilt remain unexplored. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, we introduced baculovirus apoptosis inhibitor genes p35 and op-iap into the genome of cotton via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and analyzed the response of transgenic plants to verticillium wilt. Results showed that p35 and op-iap constructs were stably integrated into the cotton genome, expressed in the transgenic lines, and inherited through the T 3 generation. The transgenic lines had significantly increased tolerance to verticillium wilt throughout the developmental stages. The disease index of T 1-T 3 generation was lower than 19, significantly (P<0.05) better than the negative control line z99668. After treatment with 250 mg/L VD-toxins for 36 hours, DNA from negative control leaves was fragmented, whereas fragmentation in the transgenic leaf DNA did not occur. The percentage of cell death in transgenic lines increased by 7.11% after 60 mg/L VD-toxin treatment, which was less than that of the negative control lines's 21.27%. This indicates that p35 and op-iap gene expression partially protects cells from VDtoxin induced programmed cell death (PCD). Conclusion/Significance: Verticillium dahliae can trigger plant cells to die through induction of a PCD mechanism involved in pathogenesis. This paper provides a potential strategy for engineering broad-spectrum necrotrophic disease resistance in plants. © 2010 Tian et al.
Tian, J., Zhang, X., Liang, B., Li, S., Wu, Z., Wang, Q., … Wang, T. (2010). Expression of baculovirus anti-apoptotic genes p35 and op-iap in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) enhances tolerance to verticillium wilt. PLoS ONE, 5(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014218