RESEARCH TO DEVELOP STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR PRESERVING PLANT GENETIC DIVERSITY IN EX SITU GENEBANKS
Location: Plant Germplasm Preservation Research Unit
Title: Germins: A Diverse Protein Family Important For Crop Improvement
Submitted to: Plant Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: August 19, 2009
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Citation: Davidson, R.M., Reeves, P.A., Manosalva, P.M., Leach, J.E. 2009. Germins: A Diverse Protein Family Important For Crop Improvement. Plant Science. 177:499-510.
Interpretive Summary: This study reviews the importance of the germin gene family to disease resistance in crop plants. Based upon extensive empirical data from rice and other species, it is argued that the germin gene family is a target for conveying multi-gene, broad-spectrum, durable disease resistance. Single gene based resistances have frequently been overcome by pathogen evolution. By coupling phylogenetics, QTL analysis, and data mining approaches, two particular lineages within the germin gene family are implicated as being the most likely to yield disease resistance genes for diverse crops.
The germin protein family is comprised of two main subgroups in plants, oxalate oxidases (OXOs) and germin-like proteins (GLPs). These proteins are implicated in a variety of plant processes including germination, development, pollen formation, and response to abiotic and biotic stress. Here, we examine the phylogenetic relationships and functional diversity of the germin gene family across diverse genera, and then focus on rice (Oryza sativa) as a model. In general, germin genes are expressed in all tissue types and are induced by biotic and/or abiotic stresses. In rice, many of the stress-induced germin genes physically co-localize with quantitative trait loci (QTL) for disease resistance, and emerging evidence suggests that small RNAs may regulate their transcript abundance. We analyze the extensive sequence, gene expression and functional data for germin family proteins and relate them to QTL map locations to predict additional candidate germin genes for future crop improvement.