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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: The Impacts of Lignin Modification on Fungal Pathogen and Insect Interactions in Sorghum for Cellulosic and Thermal Bioenergy

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Project Number: 5010-42000-047-01
Project Type: Reimbursable

Start Date: Feb 01, 2011
End Date: Jan 31, 2017

Examine effects of specific modifications to lignin biosynthesis through bmr loci or transgenic over expression on feeding of green bugs (phloem feeder) corn earworms and fall armyworms (chewing insects). Examine the effects of these lignin modifications on the colonization of fungi causing foliar or stalk diseases, anthracnose, stalk rot, and charcoal rot. In the relevant lines, investigate the potential underlying mechanisms for significantly reduced insect feeding or fungal colonization relative to wild-type.

The 4 bmr loci and transgenic over expression of 4 genes involved in monolignol biosynthesis will be used to manipulate lignin. The bmr loci all result in reduced lignin content, but have distinct effects on lignin composition and phenylpropanoid metabolism. The genes encoding enzymes in monolignol biosynthesis at critical branch points will be over expressed, as well as a putative transcriptional regulator of lignin biosythesis. Resistance to fungal pathogens will be assessed in the field and through greenhouse inoculation with fungal isolates containing GFP to examine fungal growth and extent of fungal penetration. Insect feeding studies will be performed using isolated leaves from staged plants at a fixed position. Phenolicin metabolites will be analyzed by GC-MS in lines exhibiting fungal or insect resistance. Global gene expression will be analyzed using a newly developed Agilent sorghum genome microarray.

Last Modified: 8/24/2016
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