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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 #412147

Research Project: Improving Food Safety by Controlling Mycotoxin Contamination and Enhancing Climate Resilience of Wheat and Barley

Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Reduction of Fusarium head blight and trichothecene contamination in transgenic wheat expressing Fusarium graminearum trichothecene 3-O-acetyltransferase

item YULFO-SOTO, GABDIEL - Orise Fellow
item McCormick, Susan
item HUI, CHEN - Kansas State University
item Bai, Guihua
item TRICK, HAROLD - Kansas State University
item Hao, Guixia

Submitted to: Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2024
Publication Date: 4/8/2024
Citation: Yulfo-Soto, G., McCormick, S., Hui, C., Bai, G., Trick, H.N., Hao, G. 2024. Reduction of Fusarium head blight and trichothecene contamination in transgenic wheat expressing Fusarium graminearum trichothecene 3-O-acetyltransferase. Frontiers in Plant Science.

Interpretive Summary: The fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum, which causes Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat, contaminates wheat with the mycotoxin called vomitoxin. Vomitoxin is a common contaminate of grain and causes serious food and feed safety concerns. Due to lacking completely resistant plant varieties and emerging fungicide resistant strains, novel methods are urgently needed to control FHB and vomitoxin contamination. To reduce FHB and vomitoxin contamination, ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois, and Manhattan, Kansas, in collaboration with researchers at Kansas State University, expressed FgTRI101, a gene that protects the fungus from its own toxin, in wheat plants, and found that the resulting transgenic wheat plants had increased vomitoxin resistance. More importantly, the transgenic plants expressing FgTRI101 had reduced FHB and vomitoxin accumulation when infected by F. graminearum. This research provides a promising way to reduce FHB and vomitoxin contamination in wheat.

Technical Abstract: Fusarium graminearum, the causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB), produces various of mycotoxins that contaminate wheat grains and cause profound health problems in humans and animals. Deoxynivalenol (DON) is the most common trichothecene found in contaminated grains. Our previous study showed that Arabidopsis expressing F. graminearum trichothecene 3-O-acetyltransferase (FgTRI101) converted DON to 3-acetyldeoxynivalenol (3-ADON) and excreted it outside of Arabidopsis cells. To determine if wheat can convert and excrete 3-ADON and reduce FHB and DON contamination, FgTRI101 was cloned and introduced into wheat cv Bobwhite. Four independent transgenic lines containing FgTRI101 were identified. Gene expression studies showed that FgTRI101 was highly expressed in wheat leaf and spike tissues in the transgenic line FgTri101-1606. The seedlings of two FgTri101 transgenic wheat lines grew significantly longer roots than the controls on media containing 5 µg/mL DON, however, the 3-ADON conversion and excretion was only detected inconsistently in the seedings of FgTri101-1606. Further analyses showed that 3-ADON or other possible DON related products were not detected in FgTri101-1606 after adding deuterium-labelled DON into the growth media. FgTri101 transgenic wheat plants showed significantly enhanced FHB resistance and lower DON content after they were infected with F. graminearum, but 3-ADON was not detected. Our study suggests that it is promising to utilize FgTRI101, a gene that the fungus uses for self-protection, for managing FHB and mycotoxin in wheat production.