Transcriptome dynamics of a susceptible wheat upon Fusarium head blight reveals that molecular responses to Fusarium graminearum infection fit over the grain development processes

Cherif Chetouhi, Ludovic Bonhomme, Pauline Lasserre-Zuber, Florence Cambon, Sandra Pelletier, Jean-Pierre Renou, Thierry Langin
Functional & Integrative Genomics 2016, 16 (2): 183-201
In many plant/pathogen interactions, host susceptibility factors are key determinants of disease development promoting pathogen growth and spreading in plant tissues. In the Fusarium head blight (FHB) disease, the molecular basis of wheat susceptibility is still poorly understood while it could provide new insights into the understanding of the wheat/Fusarium graminearum (Fg) interaction and guide future breeding programs to produce cultivars with sustainable resistance. To identify the wheat grain candidate genes, a genome-wide gene expression profiling was performed in the French susceptible wheat cultivar, Recital. Gene-specific two-way ANOVA of about 40 K transcripts at five grain developmental stages identified 1309 differentially expressed genes. Out of these, 536 were impacted by the Fg effect alone. Most of these Fg-responsive genes belonged to biological and molecular functions related to biotic and abiotic stresses indicating the activation of common stress pathways during susceptibility response of wheat grain to FHB. This analysis revealed also 773 other genes displaying either specific Fg-responsive profiles along with grain development stages or synergistic adjustments with the grain development effect. These genes were involved in various molecular pathways including primary metabolism, cell death, and gene expression reprogramming. An increasingly complex host response was revealed, as was the impact of both Fg infection and grain ontogeny on the transcription of wheat genes. This analysis provides a wealth of candidate genes and pathways involved in susceptibility responses to FHB and depicts new clues to the understanding of the susceptibility determinism in plant/pathogen interactions.

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