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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Identify Fusarium Head Blight Resistance Gene in Wheat

December 7, 2016

Cell wall fortification is one of the best resistance mechanisms in wheat (Triticum aestivum) against Fusarium graminearum, which causes Fusarium head blight (FHB). Analysis of FHB resistant near-isogenic lines (NIL-R) led to the identification of various resistance-related (RR) metabolites, including hydroxycinnamic acid amides, such as coumaroylagmatine and coumaroylputrescine.

Using these metabolites, the team of Udaykumar Kage from McGill University in Canada identified a gene encoding agmatine coumaroyl transferase, named TaACT, as a candidate gene for FHB resistance. TaACT was found to be located within a FHB quantitative trait loci on chromosome 2DL (FHB QTL-2DL).

Sequence analysis of TaACT in resistant and susceptible lines also led to the identification of several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and two inversions in the gene that could be important for gene function. The role of TaACT in FHB resistance was proven through virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in wheat as well as via complementation studies in Arabidopsis act mutants.

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