All BGRI Abstracts

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Risk assessment of aerial transport of rust pathogens to the Western Hemisphere and within North America

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Scot Isard Departments of Plant Pathology and Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University, USA
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The risk of aerial long-distance transport of rust pathogens from potential source locations in the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western Hemisphere and from subtropical to continental interior regions within North America is investigated. Simulations of longdistance transport of rust spores using the Integrated Aerobiology Modeling System indicate that the frequency of transport and deposition in the Western Hemisphere of viable rust spores originating from potential sources in tropical Africa, at high latitudes in Europe, and throughout eastern Asia is low. However, the frequency of trans-oceanic transport and deposition of viable rust spores in the Western Hemisphere is high for potential African source locations poleward of the tropics. The relatively short distance between Western Africa and northeastern South America coupled with the presence of persistent Northeasterly Trade Winds create an active pathway for spore transport. Western Hemisphere regions that are influenced by the Intertropical Convergence Zone have the highest likelihood of receiving viable rust spores from the Eastern Hemisphere. The risk of aerial transport of viable rust spores to U.S. regions from potential Eastern Hemisphere source regions is low. Analysis of wind streamline maps for North America indicate that strong low-level advection of air northward from the subtropics is prevalent east of the Rocky Mountains from early April to mid-May providing opportunities for long-distance transport of rust pathogens into the continental interior. After mid-June, the number of days with strong lowlevel advection of air from south to north across these regions and thus opportunities for long-distance spore transport decrease dramatically.

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Cracking the codes: genetic basis of nonhost resistance of barley to heterologous rust fungi

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Rients E. Niks Wageningen University, Laboratory of Plant Breeding
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Full nonhost resistance can be defined as immunity, displayed by an entire plant species against all genotypes of a plant pathogen. The genetic basis of (non)host-status of plants is hard to study, since identification of the responsible genes would require interspecific crosses that suffer from sterility and abnormal segregation. There are some plant/potential pathogen combinations where only 10% or less of the accessions are at most moderately susceptible. These may be regarded as marginal host or near-nonhost, and can provide insights into the genes that determine whether a plant species is a host or a nonhost to a would-be pathogen. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is a near-nonhost to several rust pathogens (Puccinia) of cereals and grasses. By crossing and selection we developed an experimental line, SusPtrit, with high susceptibility to at least nine different heterologous rust taxa such as the wheat and Agropyron leaf rusts (caused by P. triticina and P. persistens, respectively). On the basis of SusPtrit and several regular, fully resistant barley accessions, we developed mapping populations. We established that the near-nonhost resistance to heterologous rusts inherits polygenically (QTLs). The QTLs have different and overlapping specificities. In addition, an occasional R-gene is involved. In each population, different sets of loci were implicated in resistance. Very few resistance genes were common between the populations, suggesting a high redundancy in barley for resistance factors. Selected QTLs have been introduced into near-isogenic lines to be fine-mapped. Our results show that the barley- Puccinia system is ideal to investigate the genetics of host-status to specialized plant pathogens.

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Rpg1-mediated durable stem rust resistance: mechanisms of action

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Andris Kleinhofs Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, USA
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Stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, is a devastating disease on wheat and barley. A single barley gene, Rpg1, has provided durable resistance since its commercial introduction in the 1940s. The cloned Rpg1 gene encodes a protein with two tandem protein kinase domains, one an active kinase (pK2) and one a pseudokinase (pK1). Function of both domains is required for resistance. The gene is constitutively expressed in all tissues with elevated levels in the epidermis. It is mostly cytoplasmic with small, but significant amount associated with the cell membrane. We have been studying this gene and protein to try to understand how it works and why it has been so durable. Here we report our most recent results showing that RPG1 is phosphorylated within 5 min after urediniospores from avirulent, but not virulent, races land on the leaf surface. Two effector proteins were isolated from the ungerminated spores and shown to work cooperatively to induce RPG1 phosphorylation and eventual degradation. The proteins were identified as a hypothetical protein (PGTG10537.2) with a fibronectin type III and BRCA1 C-terminal domains and vacuolar protein sortingassociated protein 9 (PGTG_16791). The rapidity of the effector function and the nature of the two protein effectors indicate that a unique mechanism for effector entry and signaling in the host cell is involved. This hypothetical mechanism may be similar to what is observed in animal cells where fibronectin proteins with an RGD-binding domain act to mediate communications between the extracellular matrix and plasma membrane.

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Towards an understanding of the molecular mechanisms of durable and non-durable resistance to stripe rust in wheat

BGRI 2011 Plenary Abstract
Xianming Chen USDA-ARS Wheat Genetics, Quality, Physiology and Disease Research Unit, Pullman, WA
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Stripe rust of wheat, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, continues to cause severe damage worldwide. Durable resistance is a key for sustainable control of the disease. High-temperature adult-plant (HTAP) resistance, which expresses when the weather becomes warm and plants grow old, has been demonstrated to be durable. We have conducted numerous of studies for understanding molecular mechanisms of different types of stripe rust resistance using a transcriptomics approach. Through comparing gene expression patterns with racespecific, all-stage resistance controlled by various genes, we found that a greater diversity of genes is involved in HTAP resistance. The genes involved in HTAP resistance are induced more slowly and their expression induction is less dramatic than genes involved in all-stage resistance. The high diversity of genes and less dramatic expression induction may explain the durability and incomplete level of HTAP resistance. Identification of transcripts may be helpful in identifying resistance controlled by different genes and in selecting better combinations of genes for pyramiding to achieve adequate and more durable resistance.

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International surveillance of wheat rust pathogens - progress and challenges

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Robert Park The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia
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Surveillance of wheat rust pathogens, including assessments of rust incidence and virulence characterization via either trap plots or race (pathotype) surveys, has provided information fundamental in formulating and adopting appropriate national and international policies, investments and strategies in plant protection, plant breeding, seed systems, and in rust pathogen research. Despite many successes from national and regional co-ordination of rust surveillance, few attempts were made to extend rust surveillance to international or even global levels. The Global Cereal Rust Monitoring System was established to address this deficiency. It is underpinned by an information platform that includes standardized protocols for methods and systems used in surveys, preliminary virulence testing, data, sample transmission and management at the field and national and global levels, and includes two web-based visualization tools. While considerable progress has been made towards a global system for monitoring variability in the wheat stem rust pathogen, and linking this to the threat posed by this pathogen to regional wheat production, some challenges remain, including ongoing commitment to support rust surveillance, and the ability to share and compare surveillance data.

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Global status of stripe rust

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Colin Wellings The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute, Australia
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Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis, has been an important disease of wheat, barley, rye, triticale and certain graminaceous hosts for centuries. The significance of the disease on cultivated cereals has waxed and waned according to the vagaries of climate, inoculum levels and susceptible varieties. A progressive understanding of pathogen biology has revealed levels of specialisation between and within host groups, and these had varying impacts on the hosts concerned. The most economically important form is P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), the causal pathogen of stripe (yellow) rust of wheat, which is the major focus of this paper. The recent discovery of the perfect stage of Pst on Berberis spp. will encourage further work to uncover the potential importance of the sexual stage in pathogen biology in regions where Berberis spp. occur. A review of the evolution of pathotypes within Pst over the past 50 years reveals recurrent pandemics emanating from a combination of specific virulence in the pathogen population, wide scale cultivation of genetically similar varieties, and agronomic practices that led to high yield potential. When these factors operate in concert, regional stripe rust epidemics have proven to be dramatic, extensive and serious in terms of the magnitude of losses and the economic hardships endured. A review of these epidemics suggests that little progress has been made in containing the worst effects of epidemics. The current status of stripe rust was gauged from a survey of 25 pathologists and breeders directly associated with the disease. It was evident that Pst remains a significant threat in the majority of wheat growing regions of the world with potential to inflict regular regional crop losses ranging from 0.1 to 5%, with rare events giving losses of 5 to 25%. Regions with current vulnerability include the USA (particularly Pacific North West), East Asia (China north-west and south-west), South Asia (Nepal), Oceania (Australia) and East Africa (Kenya). The resources deployed to contain the worst effects of Pst will need to find a balance between training a new generation of breeders and pathologists in host-pathogen genetics, and an investment in infrastructure in IARCs and NARs.

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Genetic protection of wheat from rusts and development of resistant varieties in Russia and Ukraine

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Alexey Morgounov CIMMYT-Turkey
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Leaf rust represents the major threat to wheat production in Russia and Ukraine. It has been present for many years and epidemics occur in different regions on both winter and spring wheat. In some regions there is evidence of more frequent epidemics, probably due to higher precipitation as a result of climate change. There is evidence that the virulence of the leaf rust population in Ukraine and European Russia and on winter wheat and spring wheat is similar. The pathogen population structure in Western Siberia is also similar to the European part, although there are some significant differences based on the genes employed in different regions. Ukrainian wheat breeders mostly rely on major resistance genes from wide crosses and have succeeded in developing resistant varieties. The North Caucasus winter wheat breeding programs apply the strategy of deploying varieties with different types of resistance and genes. This approach resulted in decreased leaf rust incidence in the region. Genes Lr23 and Lr19 deployed in spring wheat in the Volga region were rapidly overcome by the pathogen. There are continuing efforts to incorporate resistance from wild species. The first leaf rust resistant spring wheat varieties released in Western Siberia possessed gene LrTR which protected the crop for 10-15 years, but was eventually broken in 2007. Slow rusting is being utilized in several breeding programs in Russia and Ukraine, but has not become a major strategy.

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Status of wheat rust research and control in China

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Zhensheng Kang College of Plant Protection, Northwest A&F University, P.R. China
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In China, wheat is grown on approximately 24 million hectares with an annual yield of 100 million tonnes. Stem rust, caused by Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, is a threat mainly to spring wheat in northeastern China. Leaf rust, caused by P. triticina, occurs on crops in the late growth stages in the Yellow-Huai-Hai River regions. Stripe rust, caused by P. striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is destructive in all winter wheat regions and is considered the most important disease of wheat in China. During the last 20 years, widespread stripe rust epidemics occurred in 2002, 2003, and 2009, and localized epidemics occurred in many other years. In recent years, major yield losses were prevented by widespread and timely applications of fungicides based on accurate monitoring and prediction of disease epidemics. A total of 68 Pst races or pathotypes have been identified using a set of 19 differential wheat genotypes. At present, races CYR32 and CYR33 virulent to resistance genes Yr9, Yr3b, Yr4b, YrSu and some other resistance genes are predominant. Moreover, these races are virulent on many cultivars grown in recent years. Of 501 recent cultivars and breeding lines 71.9% were susceptible, 7.0% had effective all-stage resistance, mostly Yr26 (= Yr24), and 21.2% had adult-plant resistance. Several resistance genes, including Yr5, Yr10, Yr15, Yr24/Yr26, YrZH84 and some unnamed genes, are still effective against the current Pst population. All have been widely used in breeding programs. Lines with one or more of Yr1, Yr2, Yr3, Yr4, Yr6, Yr7, Yr8, Yr9 and other unnamed resistance genes are susceptible to currently predominant races. Durable adult plant resistance sources are being increasingly used as parents in breeding programs. Progress has been made in genomics and population genetics of Pst, molecular mapping of resistance genes, and cytological and molecular mechanisms of the host-pathogen interactions involved in stripe rust.

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Implications of climate change for diseases, crop yields and food security

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Adrian Newton Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), U.K.
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Accelerated climate change affects components of complex biological interactions differentially, often causing changes that are difficult to predict. Crop yield and quality are affected by climate change directly, and indirectly, through diseases that themselves will change but remain important. These effects are difficult to dissect and model as their mechanistic bases are generally poorly understood. Nevertheless, a combination of integrated modelling from different disciplines and multi-factorial experimentation will advance our understanding and prioritisation of the challenges. Food security brings in additional socio-economic, geographical and political factors. Enhancing resilience to the effects of climate change is important for all these systems and functional diversity is one of the most effective targets for improved sustainability.

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Rust-proofing wheat for a changing climate

BGRI 2010 Plenary Abstract
Sukumar Chakraborty CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia
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This paper offers projections of potential effects of climate change on rusts of wheat and how we should factor in a changing climate when planning for the future management of these diseases. Even though the rusts of wheat have been extensively studied internationally, there is a paucity of information on the likely effects of a changing climate on the rusts and hence on wheat production. Due to the lack of published empirical research we relied on the few published studies of other plant diseases, our own unpublished work and relevant information from the vast literature on rusts of wheat to prepare this overview. Potential risks from a changing climate were divided into three major groups: increased loss from wheat rusts, new rust races evolving faster and the reduced effectiveness of rust resistances. Increased biomass of wheat crops grown in the presence of elevated CO2 concentrations and higher temperatures will increase the leaf area available for attack by the pathogen. This combined with increased speed of the pathogen’s life cycle, may increase the rate of epidemic development in many environments. Likewise, should the effects of climate change result in more conducive conditions for rust development there will also be a corresponding increase in the rate of evolution of new and presumably virulent races. The effectiveness of some rust resistance genes are influenced by temperature, crop development stage and even nitrogen status of the host. It is likely that direct and indirect changes on the host from climate change may influence the effectiveness of some of these resistance genes. Currently the likely effects of climate change on the effectiveness of disease resistance is not known and since disease resistance breeding is a long term strategy it is important to determine if any of the important genes may become less effective due to climate change. Studies must be made to acquire new information on the rust disease triangle to increase the adaptive capacity of wheat under climate change. BGRI leadership is needed to broker research on rust evolution and the durability of resistance under climate change.

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