Published article

The Heteroxylan Shield: How Barley Leaves Fight off Powdery Mildew with a Little Help from GT Genes

Figure: Transient induced gene silencing of candidate genes and the changes in susceptibility to fungal penetration.

Figure: We apply biolistic DNA Delivery for Transiently Induced Gene Silencing and Transient Over-Expression to know the function of xylan biosynthesis gene against powdery mildew pathogen.

Our previous study showed that barley leaves have a secret weapon against powdery mildew infection: heteroxylan! This special component of papillae, which form during powdery mildew infection, is believed to fortify the physical resistance of the epidermal cell wall to fungal penetration. Think of it like a castle wall, with heteroxylan being the extra layer of bricks that make it harder for invaders to break through. In current our study it turns out, several special "bricklayer" enzymes called glycosyltransferase (GT) families play a key role in building this wall. These GT families work together in a team and are up-regulated in barley leaves during powdery mildew infection. By tweaking the activity of certain GT genes, we were able to alter the susceptibility of barley leaves to powdery mildew. The strongest resistance was seen when a GT43 gene and a GT47 gene were both working together, both of which are involved in building the xylan backbone of heteroxylan. So, by manipulating the expression of these genes, it is possible to change the amount and structure of heteroxylan in barley papillae, which in turn can significantly alter the susceptibility to powdery mildew.

Check here for the full article published in Frontiers in Plant Science.

Author: Jamil Chowdhury

1 April 2017