Turkish Journal of Biology




We evaluated transgenic lines of sugarcane modified with the barley chitinase class-II gene to create resistance against the red rot causative agent Colletotrichum falcatum Went. Local sugarcane cultivar SP93 was transformed with a 690-bp coding sequence of the chitinase-II gene under the influence of a polyubiquitin promoter. Transgenic sugarcane lines (T$_{0}$) overexpressing the chitinase gene were obtained through a particle bombardment method with 13.3% transformation efficiency. Four transgenic sugarcane lines, SCT-03, SCT-05, SCT-15, and SCT-20, were tested for resistance against red rot by in vitro antifungal assays. Crude protein extracts from transgenic sugarcane plants SCT-03, SCT-05, SCT-15, and SCT-20 inhibited the mycelial growth of C. falcatum by 49%, 40%, 56%, and 52%, respectively, in a quantitative in vitro assay. Our findings revealed that two transgenic lines, SCT-15 and SCT-20, exhibited the highest endochitinase activity of 0.72 and 0.58 U/mL, respectively. Furthermore, transgenic lines SCT-15 and SCT-20 exhibited strong resistance against inoculated C. falcatum in an in vitro bioassay, as they remained healthy and green in comparison with the control sugarcane plants, which turned yellow and eventually died 3 weeks after infection. The mRNA expression of the transgene in the C. falcatum-inoculated transgenic sugarcane lines increased gradually compared to the control plant. The mRNA expression was the highest at 72 h in both transgenic lines and remained almost stable in the subsequent hours.


Red rot tolerant sugarcane, antifungal gene, Colletotrichum falcatum Went., sugarcane transformation, chitinase gene, quantitative in vitro fungal bioassay, chitinase activity, transgene mRNA expression

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