Functional characterization of Rorippa indica defensin and its efficacy against Lipaphis erysimi.
Rorippa indica, a wild crucifer, has been previously reported as the first identified plant in the germplasm of Brassicaceae known to be tolerant towards the mustard aphid Lipaphis erysimi Kaltenbach. We herein report the full-length cloning, expression, purification and characterization of a novel R. indica defensin (RiD) and its efficacy against L. erysimi. Structural analysis through homology modeling of RiD showed longer α-helix and 3rd β-sheet as compared to Brassica juncea defensin (BjD). Recombinant RiD and BjD was purified for studying its efficacy against L. erysimi. In the artificial diet based insect bioassay, the LC50 value of RiD against L. erysimi was found to be 9.099±0.621 µg/mL which is far lower than that of BjD (43.51±0.526 µg/mL). This indicates the possibility of RiD having different interacting partner and having better efficacy against L. erysimi over BjD. In the transient localization studies, RiD signal peptide directed the RiD: yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fusion protein to the apoplastic regions which indicates that it might play a very important role in inhibiting nutrient uptake by aphids which follow mainly extracellular route to pierce through the cells. Hence, the present study has a significant implication for the future pest management program of B. juncea through the development of aphid tolerant transgenic plants.