The Saccharomyces cerevisiae chitinase, encoded by the CTS1-2 gene, confers antifungal activity against Botrytis cinerea to transgenic tobacco

M. Carstens, M. A. Vivier*, I. S. Pretorius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)


The Saccharomyces cerevisiae chitinase, encoded by the CTS1-2 gene has recently been confirmed by in vitro tests to possess antifungal abilities. In this study, the CTS1-2 gene has been evaluated for its in planta antifungal activity by constitutive overexpression in tobacco plants to assess its potential to increase the plant's defence against fungal pathogens. Transgenic tobacco plants, generated by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, showed stable integration and inheritance of the transgene. Northern blot analyses conducted on the transgenic tobacco plants confirmed transgene expression. Leaf extracts from the transgenic lines inhibited Botrytis cinerea spore germination and hyphal growth by up to 70% in a quantitative in vitro assay, leading to severe physical damage on the hyphae. Several of the F1 progeny lines were challenged with the fungal pathogen, B. cinerea, in a detached leaf infection assay, showing a decrease in susceptibility ranging from 50 to 70%. The plant lines that showed increased disease tolerance were also shown to have higher chitinase activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-508
Number of pages12
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


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