Crop Biotech Update

Wheat Multipathogen Resistance Gene Confers Anthracnose and Rust Resistance in Sorghum

May 10, 2017

Wendelin Schnippenkoetter from the CSIRO Agriculture and Food in Australia investigated the ability of the wheat Lr34 multipathogen resistance gene (Lr34res) to function across a wide range of species using transgenic sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). The transgenics exhibited increased resistance to sorghum rust, caused by Puccinia purpurea, and anthracnose disease caused by Colletotrichum sublineolum.

Furthermore, transgenic sorghum lines highly expressing the wheat Lr34res gene also exhibited increased immunity to sorghum rust compared to low-expressing single copy transgenics, which only exhibited partial resistance. Pathogen-induced pigmentation mediated by flavonoid phytoalexins was also evident and characterized highly expressing transgenic lines inoculated with P. purpurea.

Metabolite analysis of mesocotyls infected with C. sublineolum also showed increased levels of 3-deoxyanthocyanidin metabolites. These metabolites are associated with reduced symptoms of anthracnose.

For more on this study, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.