Biotech Updates

Wheat Homolog of the Yeast ATG6 Gene are Involved in Autophagy and Powdery Mildew Immunity

April 8, 2015

ATG6 proteins are pleiotropic proteins that function in autophagy as well as in the phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate-signaling pathways. Arabidopsis ATG6 regulates normal plant growth, pollen development and germination, and plant responses to biotic/abiotic stresses. However, the ATG6 functions in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) have not yet been studied.

The team of Huazhong Wang from Tianjin Normal University in China identified three ATG6 genes, TaATG6a,-6b and -6c, from wheat. Expression of the TaATG6 genes restored the accumulation of autophagic bodies in atg6-mutant yeast while TaATG6-knockdown plants showed impaired autophagy and abnormal growth.

Their expression was found to be induced by abiotic factors as well as Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici (Bgt), which causes powdery mildew. Further analysis revealed that TaATG6s play a weak, positive role in the Pm21-triggered resistance response to powdery mildew.

To learn more about the study, read the full article on BioMed Central.