Expression of snowdrop lectin (GNA) in transgenic rice plants confers resistance to rice brown planthopper. Academic Article uri icon


  • Snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis agglutinin; GNA) has been shown previously to be toxic towards rice brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens; BPH) when administered in artificial diet. BPH feeds by phloem abstraction, and causes 'hopper burn', as well as being an important virus vector. To evaluate the potential of the gna gene to confer resistance towards BPH, transgenic rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants were produced, containing the gna gene in constructs where its expression was driven by a phloem-specific promoter (from the rice sucrose synthase RSs1 gene) and by a constitutive promoter (from the maize ubiquitin ubi1 gene). PCR and Southern analyses on DNA from these plants confirmed their transgenic status, and that the transgenes were transmitted to progeny after self-fertilization. Western blot analyses revealed expression of GNA at levels of up to 2.0% of total protein in some of the transgenic plants. GNA expression driven by the RSs1 promoter was tissue-specific, as shown by immunohistochemical localization of the protein in the non-lignified vascular tissue of transgenic plants. Insect bioassays and feeding studies showed that GNA expressed in the transgenic rice plants decreased survival and overall fecundity (production of offspring) of the insects, retarded insect development, and had a deterrent effect on BPH feeding. gna is the first transgene to exhibit insecticidal activity towards sap-sucking insects in an important cereal crop plant.

published proceedings

  • Plant J

altmetric score

  • 12

author list (cited authors)

  • Rao, K. V., Rathore, K. S., Hodges, T. K., Fu, X., Stoger, E., Sudhakar, D., ... Gatehouse, J. A.

citation count

  • 264

complete list of authors

  • Rao, KV||Rathore, KS||Hodges, TK||Fu, X||Stoger, E||Sudhakar, D||Williams, S||Christou, P||Bharathi, M||Bown, DP||Powell, KS||Spence, J||Gatehouse, AM||Gatehouse, JA

publication date

  • August 1998