Biotech Updates

Mutated BRI1 in Uzu Barley Can Provide Disease Resistance

September 3, 2014

Brassinosteroid hormones regulate many aspects of plant growth and development with the membrane receptor BRI1 as the central player in the signaling cascade. A team of researchers led by Shahin S. Ali of the University College of Dublin in Ireland are studying the semi-dwarf "uzu" barley, which carries a mutation in BRI1 known for its positive contribution to yield and lodging resistance.

The "uzu" barley exhibited enhanced resistance to a wide range of pathogens due to a combination of pre-formed and inducible defense responses. Gene expression studies revealed that the uzu barley has a repressed brassinosteroid signaling. Reduction of BRI1 RNA levels compromised uzu's disease resistance.

These suggest that the pathogen resistance of "uzu" may be due to the possible role of BRI1 on a plant defense pathway or the indirect effect of repressed brassinosteroid signaling.

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