Transgenic maize plants expressing the Totivirus antifungal protein, KP4, are highly resistant to corn smut

Aron Allen, Emir Islamovic, Jagdeep Kaur, Scott Gold, Dilip Shah, Thomas Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


The corn smut fungus, Ustilago maydis, is a global pathogen responsible for extensive agricultural losses. Control of corn smut using traditional breeding has met with limited success because natural resistance to U. maydis is organ specific and involves numerous maize genes. Here, we present a transgenic approach by constitutively expressing the Totivirus antifungal protein KP4, in maize. Transgenic maize plants expressed high levels of KP4 with no apparent negative impact on plant development and displayed robust resistance to U. maydis challenges to both the stem and ear tissues in the greenhouse. More broadly, these results demonstrate that a high level of organ independent fungal resistance can be afforded by transgenic expression of this family of antifungal proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • KP4
  • Transgenic
  • Ustilago maydis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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