Biotech Updates

MLO Gene Family may Hold Key to Powdery Mildew Resistance in Rosaceae Species

July 23, 2014

Powdery mildew (PM) caused by Podosphaera leucotricha is a major fungal disease of thousands of plants, including many cultivated Rosaceae species. PM pathogenesis is associated with up-regulation of MLO genes during early stages of infection. The genes' upregulation causes decrease in plant defense. MLO gene family can act as susceptibility genes, since down-regulation of these genes may grant plant resistance.

The Fondazione Edmund Mach in Italy carried out an analysis of the MLO genes in apple, peach, and strawberry. The researcher identified candidate PM susceptibility genes through studying their relationships with other characterized MLO genes. In apple, susceptibility genes were inferred by monitoring their expression following inoculation with Podosphaera leucotricha.

Genomic tools available for Rosaceae family were exploited to identify the candidate MLO susceptibility genes. In follow-up studies it can be investigated whether silencing in one or more of these candidate genes leads to PM resistance.

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