Avocado is one of the most important fruits in the world. Avocado "native mexicano" (Persea americana var. drymifolia) seeds are widely used in the propagation of this plant and are the primary source of rootstocks globally for a variety of avocado cultivars, such as the Hass avocado. Here, we report the isolation of 5005 ESTs from the 5' ends of P.americana var. drymifolia seed cDNA clones representing 1584 possible unigenes. These avocado seed ESTs were compared with the avocado flower EST library, and we detected several genes that are expressed either in both tissues or only in the seed. The snakin gene, which encodes an element of the innate immune response in plants, was one of those most frequently found among the seed ESTs, and this suggests that it is abundantly expressed in the avocado seed. We expressed the snakin gene in a heterologous system, namely the bovine endothelial cell line BVE-E6E7. Conditioned media from transfected BVE-E6E7 cells showed antimicrobial activity against strains of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. This is the first study of the function of the snakin gene in plant seed tissue, and our observations suggest that this gene might play a protective role in the avocado seed.
- Antimicrobial peptides