Transfer and expression of the rabbit defensin NP-1 gene in lettuce (Lactuca sativa).
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae, with high food and medicinal value. However, the crop is susceptible to several viruses that are transmitted by aphids and is highly vulnerable to post-harvest diseases, as well as insect and mammal pests and fungal and bacterial diseases. Here, the rabbit defensin gene NP-1 was transferred into lettuce by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation to obtain a broad-spectrum disease-resistant lettuce. Transgenic lettuce plants were selected and regenerated on selective media. The presence of the NP-1 gene in these plants was confirmed by western blot analyses. Resistance tests revealed native defensin NP-1 expression conferred partial resistance to Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which suggests new possibilities for lettuce disease resistance.