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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 #374248

Research Project: Novel Methods for Controlling Trichothecene Contamination of Grain and Improving the Climate Resilience of Food Safety and Security Programs

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: A lipid transfer protein has antifungal and antioxidant activity and suppresses Fusarium Head Blight disease and DON accumulation in transgenic wheat

item MCLAUGHLIN, JOHN - Rutgers University
item DARWISH, NOURA - Rutgers University
item GARCIA-SANCHEZ, JEFFREY - Rutgers University
item TYAGI, NEERJA - Kansas State University
item TRICK, HAROLD - Kansas State University
item McCormick, Susan
item DILL-MACKY, RUTH - University Of Minnesota
item TUMER, NILGUN - Rutgers University

Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/21/2020
Publication Date: 3/4/2021
Citation: McLaughlin, J.E., Darwish, N.I., Garcia-Sanchez, J., Tyagi, N., Trick, H.N., McCormick, S., Dill-Macky, R., Tumer, N.E. 2021. A lipid transfer protein has antifungal and antioxidant activity and suppresses Fusarium Head Blight disease and DON accumulation in transgenic wheat. Phytopathology. 111(4):671-683.

Interpretive Summary: In this research, we found an Arabidopsis gene that may help to control Fusarium head blight (FHB). FHB, caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum, is a devastating disease of small grain cereal crops that causes yield reductions and contamination of grain with trichothecene the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol. We produced yeast and wheat that overexpressed an Arabidopsis gene for a lipid transfer protein. The yeast was more resistant to the toxin, had less oxidative stress, and was able to inhibit the growth of Fusarium graminearum. Wheat that expressed this lipid transfer protein gene was significantly more resistant to both the toxins and to FHB. This gene is a promising candidate for novel approaches to improve food safety and crop production by enhancing the Fusarium resistance of crop plants.

Technical Abstract: Plant non-specific lipid transfer proteins (nsLTPs) are involved in abiotic and biotic stress responses including the response to fungal pathogens. We previously screened an activation tagged Arabidopsis population and identified a nonspecific lipid transfer protein (nsLTP) gene, AtLTP4.4, which was overexpressed in a mutant resistant to trichothecin, a type B trichothecene in the same class as deoxynivalenol (DON). Overexpression of AtLTP4.4 reduced the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon exposure to trichothecenes. Here, we show that purified recombinant AtLTP4.4 expressed in Pichia pastoris exhibits potent antifungal activity against F. graminearum. Overexpression of AtLTP4.4 significantly reduced early disease severity due to F. graminearum infection in transgenic wheat. Hydrogen peroxide accumulation was attenuated upon exposure of transgenic wheat plants to DON. Field testing indicated that disease severity and DON accumulation were significantly reduced in transgenic wheat lines expressing AtLTP4.4 or a wheat homolog, TaLTP3. These results demonstrate that overexpression of AtLTP4.4 or TaLTP3 in transgenic wheat reduces disease severity and DON content and significantly suppresses oxidative stress due to trichothecenes.