Resistance to hemi-biotrophic F. graminearum infection is associated with coordinated and ordered expression of diverse defense signaling pathways

Lina Ding, Haibin Xu, Hongying Yi, Liming Yang, Zhongxin Kong, Lixia Zhang, Shulin Xue, Haiyan Jia, Zhengqiang Ma
PloS One 2011, 6 (4): e19008
Fusarium species cause serious diseases in cereal staple food crops such as wheat and maize. Currently, the mechanisms underlying resistance to Fusarium-caused diseases are still largely unknown. In the present study, we employed a combined proteomic and transcriptomic approach to investigate wheat genes responding to F. graminearum infection that causes Fusarium head blight (FHB). We found a total of 163 genes and 37 proteins that were induced by infection. These genes and proteins were associated with signaling pathways mediated by salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), ethylene (ET), calcium ions, phosphatidic acid (PA), as well as with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and scavenging, antimicrobial compound synthesis, detoxification, and cell wall fortification. We compared the time-course expression profiles between FHB-resistant Wangshuibai plants and susceptible Meh0106 mutant plants of a selected set of genes that are critical to the plants' resistance and defense reactions. A biphasic phenomenon was observed during the first 24 h after inoculation (hai) in the resistant plants. The SA and Ca(2+) signaling pathways were activated within 6 hai followed by the JA mediated defense signaling activated around 12 hai. ET signaling was activated between these two phases. Genes for PA and ROS synthesis were induced during the SA and JA phases, respectively. The delayed activation of the SA defense pathway in the mutant was associated with its susceptibility. After F. graminearum infection, the endogenous contents of SA and JA in Wangshuibai and the mutant changed in a manner similar to the investigated genes corresponding to the individual pathways. A few genes for resistance-related cell modification and phytoalexin production were also identified. This study provided important clues for designing strategies to curb diseases caused by Fusarium.

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