Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fungi's genetic sabotage in wheat discovered

Date:
July 16, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Using molecular techniques, scientists have shown how the subversion of a single gene in wheat by two fungal foes triggers a kind of cellular suicide in the grain crop's leaves.

A team of scientists from seven research organizations lead by ARS plant geneticist Justin Faris has found that a single gene in wheat makes it vulnerable to two major diseases of the grain: tan spot and leaf blotch.
Credit: Stephen Ausmus

Using molecular techniques, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and collaborating scientists have shown how the subversion of a single gene in wheat by two fungal foes triggers a kind of celular suicide in the grain crop's leaves.

Fortunately, the team has also developed DNA molecular markers that can be used to rapidly screen commercial cultivars for the gene, Tsn1, so it can be eliminated by selective breeding. This, in turn, would deprive the fungi of their primary means of killing off leaf tissue to feed and grow, explains Justin Faris, a plant geneticist with the ARS Cereal Crops Research Unit in Fargo, N.D.

The fungi -- Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (also known as tan spot) and Stagonospora nodorum (leaf blotch) -- are often partners in crime, occurring in the same crop fields and producing the same toxin, ToxA, to induce a Tsn1-controlled response in wheat called programmed cell death (PCD). Normally, PCD protects plants by confining invading pathogens in dead cells. However, the strategy doesn't work against the ToxA fungi because they're "necrotrophs," pathogens that feed on dead tissue.

To better understand this genetic trickery, Faris led a team of scientists from seven different research organizations in isolating, sequencing and cloning the DNA sequence for Tsn1 from cultivated wheat and its wild relatives. Based on their analysis, the researchers concluded that modern-day wheat inherited Tsn1 from goatgrass. They figure this happened after a goatgrass gene for the enzyme protein kinase fused with another gene, NB-LRR, which probably conferred resistance to biotrophs, pathogens that feed on living tissue.

Interestingly, Tsn1 is controlled by wheat's circadian clock, and only initiates PCD in response to ToxA during daylight hours. At night, Tsn1 shuts down and "ignores" ToxA, suggesting the toxin may indirectly interfere with the plant's photosynthesis.

The team, which includes researchers from North Dakota State University-Fargo and the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens-Murdoch among others, is reporting its findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Jan Suszkiw. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Justin D. Faris, Zengcui Zhang, Huangjun Lu, Shunwen Lu, Leela Reddy, Sylvie Cloutier, John P. Fellers, Steven W. Meinhardt, Jack B. Rasmussen, Steven S. Xu, Richard P. Oliver, Kristin J. Simons, and Timothy L. Friesen. A unique wheat disease resistance-like gene governs effector-triggered susceptibility to necrotrophic pathogens. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004090107

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Fungi's genetic sabotage in wheat discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100713101414.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, July 16). Fungi's genetic sabotage in wheat discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100713101414.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Fungi's genetic sabotage in wheat discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100713101414.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins