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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01362

Host-induced silencing of Fusarium graminearum genes enhances the resistance of Brachypodium distachyon to Fusarium head blight

 Fuxin He1, Ruiming Zhang1, Jiaxin Zhao1,  Tuo Qi1,  Zhensheng Kang1 and  Jun Guo2*
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas, Northwest A&F University, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, China

Fusarium head blight (FHB) caused by Fusarium pathogens are devastating diseases worldwide. In recent years, the development of host-induced gene silencing (HIGS) technology has provided a new strategy for the ecological sound, stable and long-lasting control of FHB. In this study, we constructed transgenic Brachypodium distachyon lines carrying RNAi cassettes to target two essential protein kinase genes Fg00677 and Fg08731, and cytochrome P450 lanosterol C14-α-demethylase (CYP51) encoding genes (CYP51A, CYP51B and CYP51C) of F. graminearum, respectively. Northern blotting confirmed the presence of short interfering RNAs (siRNA) derived from Fg00677, Fg08731 and CYP51 in transgenic B. distachyon plants, and the transcript levels of the corresponding genes were down-regulated in the F. graminearum colonizing B. distachyon spikes. All the corresponding independent, Fg00677-RNAi, Fg08731-RNAi and CYP51-RNAi transgenic T2 lines exhibited strong resistance to F. graminearum, suggesting that silencing molecules produced by transgenic plants inhibited the corresponding gene function by down-regulating its expression, thereby reducing pathogenicity. Our results indicate that Fg00677 and Fg08731 are effective targets for HIGS and can be applied to construct transgenic HIGS materials to enhance FHB resistance in wheat and other cereal crops.

Keywords: Brachypodiam distachyon, Fusarium graminearum, Cyp51, essential protein kinase, host-induced gene silencing (HIGS)

Received: 30 Apr 2019; Accepted: 03 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 He, Zhang, Zhao, Qi, Kang and Guo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Jun Guo, Northwest A&F University, State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and College of Plant Protection, Yangling, China,