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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Research Project #430559

Research Project: Identification and Evaluation of Proteins/Genes Associated with Aflatoxin-resistance in Soybean and Maize

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Project Number: 6054-42000-025-12-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2016
End Date: Apr 30, 2021

Objective:
Identify and characterize the role of maize kernel proteins and corresponding genes in conferring resistance to aflatoxin contamination or in suppressing the growth of aflatoxin-producing fungi. Determine the profiles and dynamics of the native microbiome in different resistant and susceptible corn lines to better understand the influence of the microbiota on the host-pathogen interaction. Identify and characterize resistance-associated proteins/genes in soybean that may enhance our understanding of aflatoxin-resistance and that may be exploited through enhancement of homologous genes in maize. Determine the most useful maize resistance markers for breeders to use in transferring resistance to commercially useful germplasm.

Approach:
Characterize resistance-associated proteins (RAP's), e.g., antifungal, stress responsive, or interfering with toxin signaling pathways, in developing and mature maize kernels identified at SRRC through proteomic comparisons of resistant and susceptible maize inbreds, some with very similar genetic back grounds. Identify, using proteome analyses, resistance-associated proteins/genes in soybean with efficacy against Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxin production. Soybean is an aflatoxin resistant species, therefore, the possibility exists that resistance factors may be identified that could be exploited through enhancement of homologous genes in maize. Characterize function of maize and soybean proteins/genes through molecular and physiological laboratory and greenhouse investigations. Determine role of proteins/genes in aflatoxin-resistance using RNAi gene silencing technology. The genes that confer susceptibility may be explored using modern gene editing techniques for increased resistance to aflatoxin contamination. Utilize next generation sequencing to identify the microbiota present during interaction of Aspergillus flavus strains with both resistant and susceptible corn genotypes. Alterations in the microbiome of resistant versus susceptible corn lines can be used to identify microbes that are synergistic or antagonistic to Aspergillus flavus.