The callose code: Uncovering the genes behind barley's defense against powdery mildew
In the battle against powdery mildew, every plant has a secret weapon: callose. This polysaccharide forms a barrier at the cell wall during infection, making it harder for the fungus to penetrate. But until now, the specific genes behind this barrier were unknown, especially in crops like barley. We set out to uncover these genes using a combination of cutting-edge genomic techniques. After a deep dive into the barley genome, we discovered a gene called HvGsl6, which plays a crucial role in callose accumulation at the cell wall during infection. To confirm the importance of this gene, we silenced it using a technique called double-stranded RNA interference (dsRNAi). The results were clear: silencing HvGsl6 resulted in a weaker barrier and increased susceptibility to infection. Our findings not only reveal the key players in barley's defense mechanism but also open up new opportunities for improving disease resistance in crops.
Author: Jamil Chowdhury
3 July 2016
Check out the original article 'Down-regulation of the glucan synthase-like 6 gene (HvGsl6) in barley leads to decreased callose accumulation and increased cell wall penetration by Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei' published in New Phytologist here.