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Research Project: Molecular and Biochemical Characterization of Biotic and Abiotic Stress on Plant Defense Responses in Maize

Location: Chemistry Research

Title: A maize leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein kinase mediates responses to fungal attack

Author
item Block, Anna
item Tang, Hoang
item HOPKINS, DOROTHEA - Former ARS Employee
item Mendoza, Jorrel
item SOLEMSLIE, RYAN - Washington State University
item Christensen, Shawn
item DU TOIT, LINDSEY - Washington State University

Submitted to: Planta
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/9/2021
Publication Date: 9/16/2021
Citation: Block, A.K., Tang, H.V., Hopkins, D., Mendoza, J.S., Solemslie, R.K., Christensen, S.A., Du Toit, L.J. 2021. A maize leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein kinase mediates responses to fungal attack. Planta. 254:73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-021-03730-0.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-021-03730-0

Interpretive Summary: One of the major problems faced by agriculture is the loss of quality and yield in crops caused by disease. Crop plants can contain genes that help them to fight specific diseases and knowledge of what these genes are can aid in breeding or selecting crop varieties that are more resistant to prevalent or problematic diseases. ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL in collaboration with scientists from Washington State University have identified one such gene in corn. If this gene is present in the corn variety, it is better able to fight southern leaf blight and seed borne diseases. However, absence of this gene makes corn more able to fight Gibberella stalk and ear rot diseases. This information will aid farmers in the decision as to what varieties to plant for increased disease resistance, depending on the predicted diseases expected in each season or location.

Technical Abstract: Plants use a range of pattern recognition receptors to detect and respond to biotic threats. Some of these receptors contain leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domains that recognize microbial proteins or peptides. Maize ( Zea mays ) has 226 LRR-receptor like kinases, making it challenging to identify those important for pathogen recognition. In this study, co-expression analysis with genes for jasmonic acid and phytoalexin biosynthesis was used to identify a fungal induced-receptor like protein kinase (FIRLPK)likely involved in the response to fungal pathogens . Loss-of-function mutants in fi - rlpk displayed enhanced susceptibility to the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Cochliobolus heterostrophus and reduced accumulation of jasmonic acid and the antimicrobial phytoalexins -kauralexins and zealexins- in infected tissues. In contrast, firlpk mutants displayed increased resistance to stem inoculation with the hemibiotrophic fungal pathogen Fusarium graminearum . These data indicate that FIRLPK is important for fungal recognition and activation of defenses, and that F. graminearum may be able to exploit FI-RLPK function to increase its virulence.