Learning from nature: new approaches to the metabolic engineering of plant defense pathways
Biotechnological manipulation of plant defense pathways can increase crop resistance to herbivores and pathogens while also increasing yields of medicinal, industrial, flavor and fragrance compounds. The most successful achievements in engineering defense pathways can be attributed to researchers striving to imitate natural plant regulatory mechanisms. For example, the introduction of transcription factors that control several genes in one pathway is often a valuable strategy to increase flux in that pathway. The use of multi-gene cassettes which mimic natural gene clusters can facilitate coordinated regulation of a pathway and speed transformation efforts. The targeting of defense pathway genes to organs and tissues in which the defensive products are typically made and stored can also increase yield as well as defensive potential.
Graphical abstractFigure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload high-quality image (254 K)Download as PowerPoint slideHighlights► Metabolic engineering is a valuable tool for manipulating plant defense pathways. ► Natural regulatory mechanisms provide a strong basis for engineering. ► Native transcription factors control several genes in one pathway. ► Multiple gene cassettes mimic natural gene clusters. ► Targeting to specific organs and tissues facilitates synthesis and storage.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 24, Issue 2, April 2013, Pages 320–328