Use of Endophytic Diazotrophic bacteria as a Vector to Express the cry3A Gene from Bacillus Thuringiensis

Joana F. Salles, Patricia de Medeiros Gitahy, Leif Skot, José Baldani

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The goal of this study was to evaluate the potential of endophytic diazotrophic bacteria as a vector to express a cry gene from Bacillus thuringiensis, envisaging the control of pests that attack sugarcane plants. The endophytic nitrogen-fixing bacteria Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus strain BR11281 and Herbaspirillum seropedicae strain BR11335 were used as models. The cry3A gene was transferred by conjugation using a suicide plasmid and the recombinant strains were selected by their ability to fix nitrogen in semi-solid N-free medium. The presence of the cry gene was detected by Southern-blot using an internal fragment of 1.0 kb as a probe. The production of δ-endotoxin by the recombinant H. seropedicae strain was detected by dot blot while for G. diazotrophicus the Western-blot technique was used. In both cases, a specific antibody raised against the B. thuringiensis toxin was applied. The δ-endotoxin production showed by the G. diazotrophicus recombinant strain was dependent on the nitrogen fixing conditions since the cry3A gene was fused to a nif promoter. In the case of H. seropedicae the δ-endotoxin expression was not affected by the promoter (rhi) used. These results suggest that endophytic diazotrophic bacteria can be used as vectors to express entomopathogenic genes envisaging control of sugarcane pests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalBrazilian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


  • Cry gene
  • Diazotrophic
  • Endophytic bacteria
  • Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus
  • Herbaspirillum seropedicae


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