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Achieving plant disease resistance by antibody expression

: Fischer, R.; Emans, N.; Schillberg, S.

Canadian journal of plant pathology 23 (2001), No.3, pp.236-245
ISSN: 0706-0661
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IUCT ( IME) ()
pathogen-resistant crops; genetic engineering; molecular biotechnology; transgenic plants; antibody expression

Molecular biotechnology has provided powerful new measures for the control of crop disease. Crops can now be engineered to be resistant through creation of transgenic plants producing recombinant proteins, pathogen-related proteins, or antisense RNAs that block pathogenesis. Antibody engineering is a novel approach to create pathogen-resistant plants, which is based on the expression of recombinant antibodies (rAbs) or rAb fragments that inactivate pathogens and pathogen proteins. The feasibility of this approach has been shown for viral pathogens, where a high degree of resistance has been obtained. The effectiveness of antibody-based resistance is related to the antibody affinity for the target protein, subcellular targeting of the rAb, and the limitations of current rAb expression technology, such as antibody stability in cellular compartments. Antibody-based resistance can create plants that are resistant to pathogens and do not require the undesirable chemical controls currently used in agriculture. Importantly, recombinant-antibody expression can be optimized to overcome any resistance developed by pathogens and "pyramided" to create resistance to several pathogens. As more suitable target proteins are identified in plant pathogens, the use of antibody-based resistance and other traits will help to increase crop yields and reduce agrochemical usage. We anticipate that antibody-based resistance will become a major strategy for the molecular breeding of pathogen-resistant crops and pathogen-resistant plant lines.