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Multiherbicide tolerance conferred by AtPgp1 and apyrase overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana

Nature Biotechnology volume 21, pages 428433 (2003) | Download Citation



Herbicide resistance is an important trait often introduced into crop plants. Mechanisms of resistance can involve a mutant target protein that is unaffected by the herbicide, or metabolic detoxification or degradation of the herbicide. Recently, we showed that overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana of either psNTP9, the garden pea apyrase gene, or AtPgp1, the A. thaliana homolog of the plant multidrug resistance (MDR) gene, enabled A. thaliana to germinate on the toxin cycloheximide and to grow better on toxic levels of the plant hormone N6-[2-isopentyl]adenine (2iP). Here we report that overexpression of either MDR or apyrase proteins resulted in increased resistance to herbicides from different chemical classes. Apyrase inhibition by small molecule inhibitors reversed this resistance. Treatment of untransformed plants with an apyrase inhibitor increased their sensitivity to the same herbicides. These results indicate that the genes may be involved in a resistance mechanism relating to decreased retention or increased active efflux of herbicide from the plant cell.

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The authors would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments, as well as Kevin Roux and Amanda Rives for work on resistance studies. This work was supported by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Herman Frasch Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

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  1. Section of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, and the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712. Texagen, Inc., Austin, Texas.

    • Brian Windsor
    • , Stanley J. Roux
    •  & Alan Lloyd


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Competing interests

The authors are coauthors on patents covering this work. The patents are wholly owned by the University of Texas at Austin and licensed to Texagen, Inc. The authors are part owners of Texagen, Inc.

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Correspondence to Alan Lloyd.

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