Location: Hard Winter Wheat Genetics ResearchTitle: Functional genomic approaches in cereal rusts Author
Submitted to: Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2012
Publication Date: 2/28/2012
Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07060661.2012.664567
Citation: Bakeren, G., Song, X., Panwar, V., Linning, R., Wang, X., Rampitsch, C., Mccallum, B., Saville, B., Fellers, J.P. 2012. Functional genomic approaches in cereal rusts. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. 34:3-12. Interpretive Summary: Cereal rusts cause significant economic losses each year. Plant breeders typically select for disease resistance genes to combat infection. Unfortunately, disease resistance genes frequently succumb to new races of the cereal rust fungi. Although study of rust fungi is difficult because they cannot be cultured on laboratory media, great advances are now occurring in understanding the genomes of rust pathogens and their arsenal of effector proteins that they use to attack plants. Understanding the mechanisms of pathogen attack may help us design better, more durable defenses in the plant.
Technical Abstract: Cereal rust fungi are pathogens of major importance to agriculture, threatening cereal production world-wide. Targeted breeding for resistance, based on information from fungal surveys and population structure analyses of virulence, has been effective. Nevertheless, breakdown of resistance occurs frequently and continued efforts are needed to understand how these fungi overcome resistance and to determine the range of available resistance genes. The development of genomic resources for these fungi and their comparison has released a torrent of new ideas and approaches to use this information to assist pathologists and agriculture in general. The sequencing of gene transcripts and the analysis of proteins from haustoria has yielded candidate virulence factors among which could be defense-triggering avirulence genes. Genome-wide computational analyses, including genetic mapping and transcript analyses by RNA sequencing of many fungal isolates, will predict many more candidates. Functional assays, such as leaf infiltration using Agrobacterium for delivery of cloned fungal effectors, are being developed. This will allow the screening of wheat germplasm for novel resistance genes for breeding. Comparative analyses have also revealed fungal virulence genes, providing fungal targets for disease control in host-produced RNAi approaches.