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Crop Biotech Update

Cotton GaRPL18 Regulates Resistance to Verticillium Wilt

March 8, 2017

Verticillium dahliae is a fungal pathogen that causes vascular wilt diseases in cotton. Moreover, the mechanism underlying cotton resistance to Verticillium wilt remains lacking. Identifying a resistance gene may be useful for controlling this disease. The team of Qian Gong and Zhaoen Yang from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences cloned the ribosomal protein L18 (GaRPL18) gene, which mediates resistance to Verticillium wilt, from a wilt-resistant cotton species (Gossypium arboreum) and characterized the function of the gene in cotton and Arabidopsis thaliana plants.

GaRPL18 encodes a 60S ribosomal protein subunit important for intracellular protein biosynthesis. The team found that V. dahliae infection induces GaRPL18 expression. Furthermore, the GaRPL18 expression pattern was consistent with the level of disease resistance of cotton varieties. GaRPL18 expression was also found to be upregulated by salicylic acid (SA) treatments, suggesting its involvement of in the SA signal transduction pathway.

Virus-induced gene silencing technology was then used to determine if the GaRPL18 expression influences cotton disease resistance. Wilt-resistant cotton with silenced GaRPL18 became more susceptible to V. dahliae than control plants. The team also transformed A. thaliana plants with GaRPL18. The plants overerexpressing GaRPL18 were more resistant to V. dahliae infections than the wild-types.

These findings provide new insights into the role of GaRPL18 in resistance to cotton Verticillium wilt.

For more information, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.