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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 321; doi:10.3390/ijms17040321

Neutralization of Bacterial YoeBSpn Toxicity and Enhanced Plant Growth in Arabidopsis thaliana via Co-Expression of the Toxin-Antitoxin Genes

1
Centre for Research in Biotechnology for Agriculture (CEBAR) and Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2
Biomedical Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Medical Campus, 21300 Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jianhua Zhu
Received: 17 October 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Toxicology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6656 KB, uploaded 20 April 2016]   |  

Abstract

Bacterial toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems have various cellular functions, including as part of the general stress response. The genome of the Gram-positive human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae harbors several putative TA systems, including yefM-yoeBSpn, which is one of four systems that had been demonstrated to be biologically functional. Overexpression of the yoeBSpn toxin gene resulted in cell stasis and eventually cell death in its native host, as well as in Escherichia coli. Our previous work showed that induced expression of a yoeBSpn toxin-Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) fusion gene apparently triggered apoptosis and was lethal in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. In this study, we investigated the effects of co-expression of the yefMSpn antitoxin and yoeBSpn toxin-GFP fusion in transgenic A. thaliana. When co-expressed in Arabidopsis, the YefMSpn antitoxin was found to neutralize the toxicity of YoeBSpn-GFP. Interestingly, the inducible expression of both yefMSpn antitoxin and yoeBSpn toxin-GFP fusion in transgenic hybrid Arabidopsis resulted in larger rosette leaves and taller plants with a higher number of inflorescence stems and increased silique production. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a prokaryotic antitoxin neutralizing its cognate toxin in plant cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacterial toxin-antitoxin; YefM antitoxin; YoeB toxin; 17-β-estradiol induction; heterologous expression; Arabidopsis thaliana bacterial toxin-antitoxin; YefM antitoxin; YoeB toxin; 17-β-estradiol induction; heterologous expression; Arabidopsis thaliana
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Abu Bakar, F.; Yeo, C.C.; Harikrishna, J.A. Neutralization of Bacterial YoeBSpn Toxicity and Enhanced Plant Growth in Arabidopsis thaliana via Co-Expression of the Toxin-Antitoxin Genes. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 321.

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