Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Corn Host Plant Resistance Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345167

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Maize with Enhanced Resistance to Aflatoxin and Insects

Location: Corn Host Plant Resistance Research

Title: Investigation of antimicrobial peptide genes associated with fungus and insect resistance in maize

Author
item NOONAN, JOSEPH - Mississippi State University
item Williams, William - Paul
item SHAN, XUEYAN - Mississippi State University

Submitted to: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2017
Publication Date: 12/20/2017
Citation: Noonan, J., Williams, W.P., Shan, X. 2017. Investigation of antimicrobial peptide genes associated with fungus and insect resistance in maize. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 18:1938-1945. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091938.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18091938

Interpretive Summary: Plants are constantly under attack by insect pests as well as bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens. Various plant defense mechanisms exist to build up a complex and efficient innate plant immune system. The innate plant defense system includes the constitutive defense, which is the primary form of surveillance to provide first-line protection from pathogens, and the induced defense, which is triggered in response to insect feeding or pathogenic infection. The induced plant defense system responds to the pathogenic infection and promotes the production of defense-related secondary metabolites and pathogenesis-related proteins. In this research a genome-wide investigation on antimicrobial peptide genes in maize genome was conducted. Antimicrobial peptide genes previously identified from various plant species were used as query sequences for maize genome data mining. Thirty-nine new maize antimicrobial peptides in addition to seven known maize antimicrobial peptides were identified. Protein sequence analysis revealed 10 distinguishable maize antimicrobial peptide groups with different expression patterns in a panel of 10 maize inbred lines. Five maize genes were found to be significantly associated with insect or fungus resistance. Identification of maize antimicrobial peptide genes will facilitate the breeding of host plant resistance and improve maize production.

Technical Abstract: Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small defense proteins present in various organisms. Major groups of AMPs include beta-barrelin, hevein, knottin, lipid transfer protein (LTP), thionin, defensin, snakin, and cyclotide. Most plant AMPs involve host plant resistance to pathogens such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria, whereas a few plant AMPs from the cyclotide family carry insecticidal functions. In this research a genome-wide investigation on antimicrobial peptide genes in maize genome was conducted. AMPs previously identified from various plant species were used as query sequences for maize genome data mining. Thirty-nine new maize AMPs were identified in addition to 7 known maize AMPs. Protein sequence analysis revealed 10 distinguishable maize AMP groups. Analysis of mRNA expression of maize AMP genes by qRT-PCR revealed different expression patterns in a panel of 10 maize inbred lines. Five maize AMP genes were found significantly associated with insect or fungus resistance. Identification of maize antimicrobial peptide genes will facilitate the breeding of host plant resistance and improve maize production.