Department of Plant Pathology, P.O. Box 6430, Washington State University, Pullman 99164
Plant nonhost disease resistance is characterized by the induction of multiple defense genes. The pea DRR206 gene is induced following inoculation with pathogens and treatment with abiotic agents, and moderately induced by wounding. A deletion series of DRR206 promoter segments was fused with the β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene and transiently transferred to tobacco, potato, and pea. GUS activity revealed that two upstream regions of the DRR206 promoter were particularly important for activation in the three plant species. Putative cis regulatory elements within the DRR206 promoter included a wound/pathogen- inducible box (W/P-box) and a WRKY box (W-box). Gel shift assays with nuclear extracts from treated and untreated tissue with the W/P-box revealed both similar and unique protein-DNA complexes from pea, potato, and tobacco. Tobacco was stably transformed with gene constructs of the DRR206 promoter fused with a DNase elicitor gene from Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli, FsphDNase. Pathogenicity tests indicated that the FsphDNase elicitor conferred resistance against Pseudomonas syringae pv. tabaci and Alternaria alternata in tobacco. Transgenic potatoes showed some sensitivity to the FsphDNase gene providing less protection against Phytophthora infestans. Thus, the elicitor-coding gene, FsphDNase, is capable of generating resistance in a heterologous plant system (tobacco) when fused with defined regions of the pea DRR206 promoter.