Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 84, Issue 1–2, pp 111–123 | Cite as

Inducible expression of p50 from TMV for increased resistance to bacterial crown gall disease in tobacco

  • Julia Niemeyer
  • Jonas Ruhe
  • Fabian Machens
  • Dietmar J. Stahl
  • Reinhard HehlEmail author


The dominant tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) resistance gene N induces a hypersensitive response upon TMV infection and protects tobacco against systemic spread of the virus. It has been proposed to change disease resistance specificity by reprogramming the expression of resistance genes or their corresponding avirulence genes. To reprogramme the resistance response of N towards bacterial pathogens, the helicase domain (p50) of the TMV replicase, the avirulence gene of N, was linked to synthetic promoters 4D and 2S2D harbouring elicitor-responsive cis-elements. These promoter::p50 constructs induce local necrotic lesions on NN tobacco plants in an Agrobacterium tumefaciens infiltration assay. A tobacco genotype void of N (nn) was transformed with the promoter::p50 constructs and subsequently crossed to NN plants. Nn F1 offspring selected for the T-DNA develop normally under sterile conditions. After transfer to soil, some of the F1 plants expressing the 2S2D::p50 constructs develop spontaneous necrosis. Transgenic Nn F1 plants with 4D::p50 and 2S2D::p50 expressing constructs upregulate p50 transcription and induce local necrotic leasions in an A. tumefaciens infiltration assay. When leaves and stems of Nn F1 offspring harbouring promoter::p50 constructs are infected with oncogenic A. tumefaciens C58, transgenic lines harbouring the 2S2D::p50 construct induce necrosis and completely lack tumor development. These results demonstrate a successful reprogramming of the viral N gene response against bacterial crown gall disease and highlight the importance of achieving tight regulation of avirulence gene expression and the control of necrosis in the presence of the corresponding resistance gene.


Disease resistance N gene Necrosis Synthetic promoter Tobacco mosaic virus Transgenic plants 



The technical assistance of Elke Faurie and Erik Hanko with greenhouse work is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to thank Michael Steinert for critically reading the manuscript. This work was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Niemeyer
    • 1
  • Jonas Ruhe
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fabian Machens
    • 1
  • Dietmar J. Stahl
    • 2
  • Reinhard Hehl
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut für GenetikTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany
  2. 2.KWS SAAT AGEinbeckGermany
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institut für PflanzenzüchtungsforschungKölnGermany

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