Proteinase Inhibitors Offer the Possibility of Producing Disease Resistant Transgenic Potatoes

Igor Kregar1* and Borut Štrukelj2

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, J. Stefan Institute

2Chair of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia 

Article history:

Received December 4, 1998
Accepted February 15, 1999

Key words:

potato proteinase inhibitors, insect digestive proteinases, transgenic plants, protease inhibitor gene expression


Proteinase inhibitors are not only important regulators of plant endogenous proteases, but also contributors to the plant defence against insects and pathogenic microorganisms. They are normally present in plant storage organs, but after attack by predators, their synthesis is induced throughout the plant. Proteinase inhibitors inhibit a broad range of insect digestive proteinases and, as a consequence, reduce the growth rate and increase the mortality rate of several insect larvae. A modern biotechnological approach offers the possibility of enhancing the natural defence of crop plants by the transfer of genes encoding an appropriate spectrum of proteinase inhibitors.


*Corresponding author:        + 386 61 273 594 

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