Biotech Updates

Arabidopsis Elongator Genes Enhance Disease Resistance in Strawberry

December 6, 2017

Elongator is a multitasking protein complex involved in diverse cellular processes, including histone modification, DNA methylation, and tRNA modification. In recent years, the Elongator protein emerged as a key regulator of plant immune responses. However, characterization of its function in plant immunity has been conducted only in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Thus, it is unclear if its role in plant immunity is conserved in higher plants.

The team of Katchen Julliany P. Silva from the University of Florida characterized the transgenic woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.) overexpressing two Arabidopsis Elongator (AtELP) genes, AtELP3 and AtELP4, and determined whether strawberry carries a functional Elongator gene.

Overexpression of AtELP3 and AtELP4 in strawberry conferred enhanced resistance to anthracnose crown rot, powdery mildew, and angular leaf spot. Further analysis showed that the strawberry genome has six Elongator protein subunits, including the FvELP4 subunit, which is encoded by two homologous genes. Expressed FvELP4–1 in an Arabidopsis mutant also proved that FvELP4 is biologically functional.

Elongator genes may hold potential in lessening disease severity and reducing fungicide application in strawberry industry.

For more on this study, read the article in BMC Plant Biology.