Key message: We studied pod-specificmsgpromoter fromsoybean and developed different transgenic lines of chickpea expressing fusedcry1Ab/Acconstitutively and pod specifically for resistance against the destructive pestHelicoverpa armigera.Abstract: Crystal (Cry) proteins derived from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) play an important role in controlling infestation of Helicoverpa armigera, which has been considered a serious problem in chickpea productivity. This study was undertaken to overcome the problem by introducing fused cry1Ab/Ac insecticidal gene under the control of pod-specific soybean msg promoter as well as rice actin1 promoter into chickpea var. DCP 92-3 by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Transgenic chickpea lines were characterized by real-time PCR, ELISA and insect bioassay. Expression of fused cry gene under constitutive and pod-specific promoter results in increase of 77- and 110-fold, respectively, compared to non-transgenic control plants. Levels of Cry toxins produced under the control of actin1 and soybean msg promoter were also estimated by ELISA in the leaves and pods, respectively. The higher expression of fused cry gene caused a lethal effect in larvae. The results of insect bioassay study revealed significant reduction in the survival rate of H. armigera reared on transgenic chickpea twigs as well as on pods. Pod-specific promoter-driven fused cry gene provides better and significant management strategy of pest control of chickpea without phenotypic cost. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.