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Antibody-mediated resistance against plant pathogens

: Safarnejad, M.R.; Jouzani, G.S.; Tabatabaie, M.; Twyman, R.M.; Schillberg, Stefan


Biotechnology Advances 29 (2011), No.6, pp.961-971
ISSN: 0734-9750
ISSN: 1873-1899
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()
genetic engineering; phage display; pathogen-resistant crops; protein targeting; recombinant antibody

Plant diseases have a significant impact on the yield and quality of crops. Many strategies have been developed to combat plant diseases, including the transfer of resistance genes to crops by conventional breeding. However, resistance genes can only be introgressed from sexually-compatible species, so breeders need alternative measures to introduce resistance traits from more distant sources. In this context, genetic engineering provides an opportunity to exploit diverse and novel forms of resistance, e.g. the use of recombinant antibodies targeting plant pathogens. Native antibodies, as a part of the vertebrate adaptive immune system, can bind to foreign antigens and eliminate them from the body. The ectopic expression of antibodies in plants can also interfere with pathogen activity to confer disease resistance. With sufficient knowledge of the pathogen life cycle, it is possible to counter any disease by designing expression constructs so that pathogen-specific anti bodies accumulate at high levels in appropriate sub-cellular compartments. Although first developed to tackle plant viruses and still used predominantly for this purpose, antibodies have been targeted against a diverse range of pathogens as well as proteins involved in plant-pathogen interactions. Here we comprehensively review the development and implementation of antibody-mediated disease resistance in plants.