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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327772

Title: Maize terpenoid phytoalexins function in resistance against both abiotic and biotic stress

item Vaughan, Martha
item Christensen, Shawn
item SCHMELZ, ERIC - University Of California
item HUFFAKER, ALISA - University Of California
item MCAUSLANE, HEATHER - University Of Florida
item Alborn, Hans
item ALLEN, LEON - Retired ARS Employee
item TEAL, PETER - Former ARS Employee

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2016
Publication Date: 5/19/2016
Citation: Vaughan, M.M., Christensen, S.A., Schmelz, E.A., Huffaker, A., McAuslane, H., Alborn, H.T., Allen, L.H., Teal, P.E. 2016. Maize terpenoid phytoalexins function in resistance against both abiotic and biotic stress [abstract].

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Maize (Zea mays) crop production, which is an essential part of the world’s grain supply, is limited by insect pests, pathogen diseases, and unfavorable weather, such as drought. Zealexins and kauralexins belong to recently identified families of terpenoid phytoalexins that function in maize defense against both insect pests and pathogens. In this study we show that the concentration of zealexin and kauralexin compounds also increase in maize roots exposed to beetle larvae (Diabrotica balteata) root feeding, root infection by the pathogen Fusarium verticillioides, drought stress, or salt stress. Interestingly, the quantity of drought induced phytoalexins is positively correlated with the root-to-shoot ratio of different maize varieties which can be an indication of drought tolerance level. Additionally, we show that an2 mutant plants deficient in kauralexin production are more sensitive to drought. The involvement of terpenoid phytoalexins in drought stress tolerance identifies a greatly desired trait that can be targeted by breeders to combat both abiotic and biotic stress simultaneously.