The main goal of the project is to evaluate possible agro-industrial applications of highly potent antifungal proteins of plant seed origin. A substantial amount of basic research will be conducted to understand how the antifungal proteins are folded, which peptide domains are important for antifungal activity, and by which mechanisms fungal growth inhibition is exerted. This information will allow the design and selection of novel AFPs with improved activity or altered selectivity.
The major application will be to express these proteins in economically important crops, as already has been done in tobacco, such that they acquire resistance to fungal diseases and require reduced chemical inputs.
Special emphasis will be given to the development of strategies aimed at minimising the emergence of fungal resistance to antifungal proteins, such as conditional control of gene expression and combined expression of two antifungal proteins with different modes of action.
In addition, the feasibility to produce antifungal proteins in substantial amounts, either by chemical synthesis or fermentation, will be evaluated. This may open ways to novel applications as preservatives in e.g. degradable food and non-food coatings.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
6700 AA Wageningen
8200 AB Lelystad
RG12 6EY Bracknell