Location: Cereal Disease Lab2017 Annual Report
Objective 1: Discover specific factors involved in pathogenicity, sporulation and toxin synthesis for the FHB pathogen and related fungi by applying genomic and functional approaches. Sub-objective 1.A. Functionally characterize cellular processes and structures that determine plant pathogenesis. Sub-objective 1.B. Identify genes uniquely or differentially expressed during development that defines pathogen structure and function. Objective 2: Relate fungal genotypes to mycotoxin production in fungal strains in field production environments to aid in developing enhanced methods of control. Sub-objective 2.A. Monitor genetic changes in critical pathogen populations by pathogen surveys. Sub-objective 2.B. Characterize populations of Fusarium from native North American grasses that may be sources of novel pathogen genotypes and/or host resistance. Objective 3: Optimize metagenomic and functional approaches to define the phytobiome of healthy and diseased plants naturally infested with the FHB fungus. Sub-objective 3.A. Characterize phytobiome and soil carbon composition. Sub-objective 3.B. Determine the relative abundance of competitive phenotypes and impacts on plant productivity. Objective 4: Identify novel sources of plant disease resistance to FHB and mycotoxins produced by FHB fungi to improve breeding for resistance. Sub-objective 4.A. Characterize the epigenetic changes of FHB resistant durum cultivars produced by altering the DNA methylation pattern. Sub-objective 4.B. Characterize durum lines missing a portion of chromosome 2A region that may contain the FHB suppressor locus.
Improved management strategies are needed to maintain adequate plant disease control. Specific approaches include: 1) Genetic information obtained from the fungal pathogen, Fusarium, will be used to identify genes factors responsible for fungal pathogenesis, possibly leading to novel approaches to control FHB disease and reduce toxin levels in grain; 2) FHB levels, strain diversity, and the nature of associated fungal communities, will be monitored by population genetic and metagenomic approaches improving the ability to forecast the economic impact and the design of effective management strategies; 3) Novel sources of FHB resistance and mycotoxin tolerance will be developed for plants.
Although this is a new project some progress has been made. We have conducted initial FRET analysis of toxisomes and completed the first RNAseq experiment of Fusarium graminearum during toxin synthesis. We have also created populations of durum wheat segregating for disease resistance and developed a radiation hybrid breeding population.
Boenisch, M.J., Broz, K.L., Purvine, S.O., Chrisler, W.B., Nicora, C.D., Connolly, L.R., Freitag, M., Baker, S.E., Kistler, H.C. 2017. Reorganization of the ER during mycotoxin production in Fusarium graminearum. Scientific Reports. 7:44296.