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Antifungal Polypeptides



The compositions of the invention are useful in methods directed to inducing pathogen resistance, particularly fungal resistance, in plants. In particular embodiments, the methods comprise introducing into a plant at least one expression cassette comprising a promoter operably linked to a nucleotide sequence that encodes an antipathogenic polypeptide of the invention. As a result, the antipathogenic polypeptide is expressed in the plant, and the pathogen is exposed to the protein at the site of pathogen attack, thereby leading to increased pathogen resistance. A tissue- preferred promoter may be used to drive expression of an antipathogenic protein in specific plant tissues that are particularly vulnerable to pathogen attack, such as, for example, the roots, leaves, stalks, vascular tissues, and seeds. Pathogen-inducible promoters may also be used to drive expression of an antipathogenic protein of the invention at or near the site of pathogen infection. The present invention further provides antipathogenic compositions and formulations and methods for their use in protecting a plant from a pathogen, particularly a fungal pathogen. In some embodiments, compositions comprise an antipathogenic polypeptide or a transformed microorganism comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding an antipathogenic polypeptide of the invention in combination with a carrier. Methods of using these compositions to protect a plant from a pathogen comprise applying the antipatho genie composition to the environment of the plant pathogen by, for example, spraying, dusting, broadcasting, or seed coating. The methods and compositions of the invention find use in protecting plants from pathogens, including fungal pathogens, viruses, nematodes, and the like.



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