Stripe rust is one of the major diseases of wheat worldwide. The causative fungus, Puccinia striiformis f.sp. tritici (Pst), keeps the infected tissue alive even after sporulation phase, a strategy that is referred to as biotrophy. The compatible interaction is divided into three phases; colonization, growth, and sporulation, the last occurring ~14 days after germination of spores. During the growth phase plant apoplast is completely occupied by hyphae, and the fungus develops special invasive structures called haustoria within plant cell. Both hyphae and haustoria are thought to take up nutrients from the host, but haustoria are specialized for this role. However, it is still unknown how the fungus obtains nutrients; perhaps by direct manipulation of host metabolic pathways related to photosynthesis or by changes in whole plant metabolite fluxes by acting as a sink. Also, it is unclear why wheat plants do not detect either the fungus itself, or the consequent loss of nutrients. The aim of this study is to understand the changes during the three phases of infection, comparing metabolites and plant photosynthetic efficiency in healthy and infected tissue, and correlating this with fungal growth. The results show that CO2 assimilation rates decreased only at the sporulation phase, which correlates with a reduction in transitory starch accumulation. However, glucose and fructose levels were lower only during colonization phase. Interestingly, although the infection alters the nutrient balance, this did not seem to affect the development of young leaves. In addition to these results, we found that stripe rust grows faster in younger leaves, which might be related to their morphology and the nutrient availability and fluxes within the leaf. This research suggests that the fungus is undetected until sporulation, and will aid future studies to understand the mechanisms of adult plant resistance conferred by transporter proteins. The research will aid future studies to understand the dynamic of adult plant resistance conferred by transporter proteins. The knowledge in wheat physiology and metabolism during rust infection could help to explain the role of transporter proteins during wheat-stripe interaction in different plant growth stages.
Primary Author: Veronica Roman-Reyna, Australian National University
Nepal is an important wheat producer country in the South Asian region; with wheat being the third most important crop in the country after paddy (rice) and maize. Additionally, high-quality, disease free, processed seed is vital to establishing food security in South Asia. The Agriculture and Forestry University or AFU, located in the fertile Chitwan region of Nepal, is the only agriculture university catering to the needs of the Terai region and has the capability to provide innovative wheat seed solutions for small wheat-growing farmers. In the Delivering Genetic Gain Project or DGGW, the AFU has an active involvement in seed production, processing, and distribution. These activities play a major role in human capacity building in the country involving women empowerment, whole family participation in varietal selection and entrepreneurship for sustainable livelihood and overall development. Currently, under the DGGW?s Innovative Seed System in Nepal, AFU produces and aggregates seeds from farmers in the area and process it through a new seed processing unit, which is a cost-efficient version of machines commonly seen in larger agricultural facilities. At full capacity, the unit can operate up to 18 hours a day and process one ton of seed per hour. The unit it is also capable of processing rice and maize during other cropping seasons. By March 2017, more than 200 farmers applied to be part of the inaugural cohort of farmers trained in producing disease free wheat seed. The inaugural wheat season for the Seed Systems for Nepal Initiative has concluded successfully, with a total of 14 metric tons of disease-free wheat seed processed. The DGGW Seeds Systems for Nepal Initiative envisions to increase the number of empowered farmers next season, which commences on November, 2017.
Primary Author: Vijayaraghavan, Sathguru Management Consultants
Understanding the effect of genetic factors controlling flowering time is crucial to fine-tune crop adaptation to each target environment and maximize yield.
A set of spring durum wheat inbred lines carrying all but one of the possible allelic combinations at Ppd-A1 and Ppd-B1 genes was developed through a collaboration between IRTA and CIMMYT. The collection was grown during several years at four sites at latitudes ranging from 19?N to 41?N in order to assess the effect of Ppd-1 genes on development, biomass production and allocation, as well as grain yield formation.
Environmental constraints were responsible for most of the observed variation for flowering time and yield components. Latitude was a main driver of flowering time, which was later in northern sites and associated with lower minimum temperatures before flowering. Data on environmental constraints explaining a large proportion of grains m-2 and kernel weight variation will be presented. The effect on flowering time of Ppd-A1 alleles conferring photoperiod insensitivity was enhanced at sites with average daylength before flowering lower than 12h. Ppd-A1 caused a stronger effect on flowering time than Ppd-B1, which was found responsible for differences in grains m-2, associated with longer photoperiods from double-ridge to terminal spikelet stages. These differences in grains m-2, however, did not result in higher yields due to kernel weight compensation. Late flowering genotypes carrying alleles conferring photoperiod sensitivity had greater biomass at anthesis but it did not confer superior yields. Early flowering times were associated with higher yields in autumn-sowing sites due to a large contribution to yield of current photosynthesis during grain filling. Early flowering genotypes tended to yield more due to higher kernel weights, and the interaction of allele combination x environment will be discussed in the context of using allelic information as environment-specific guideline in breeding efforts.
Primary Author: Villegas, Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology
Despite being 10,000 km apart, the current study emphasizes the potential vulnerability of Australia to wind-borne Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt) spore introductions from southern Africa. Of four Pgt introductions into Australia since 1925, at least two (races 326-1,2,3,5,6 and 194-1,2,3,5,6) are thought to have originated from southern Africa. Microsatellite analysis of 29 Australian and South African Pgt races confirmed close genetic relationships between the majority of races in these two geographically separated populations, thus supporting previously reported phenotypic similarities. Using Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model simulations with finely-resolved global meteorological data over a 14-year period and a three-day urediniospore survival time, the study showed that long distance dispersal of Pgt from southern Africa to Australia is possible, albeit rare. Transmission events occurred most frequently from central South Africa, but were also possible from southern South Africa and Zimbabwe; while none occurred from a representative source-location in Tanzania. Direct dispersal incursions into both the western and eastern Australian wheat belts were feasible. Together, the genetic and simulation data strongly support the hypothesis that earlier introductions of Pgt into Australia occurred through long-distance wind-dispersal across the Indian Ocean. The study thus acts as a warning of possible future Pgt dispersal events to Australia which could include members of the Ug99 race group. This emphasizes the continued need for Pgt surveillance on both continents.
Primary Author: Visser, Department of Plant Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa
Yellow rust caused by Puccinia striiformis West. is a harmful and dangerous disease in the south of Russia. Yield losses under optimum conditions on highly susceptible varieties can vary from 10 to 100%. During the growing season of 2017, cool weather with constant precipitation from the third decade of April to the first decade of June contributed to the intensive development of the pathogen. Surveys of the main winter wheat production areas in five agroclimatic zones of the region revealed that yellow rust was prevalent in all areas. The maximum development of P.striiformis was observed in southern submontane and western Priazovsky agroclimatic zones. Some varieties such as Grom, Yuka, Tanya, Anka had losses to yellow rust of up to 30-40 %. In the central and northern agroclimatic zones, the losses averaged 5%, whereas in the dry eastern steppe zone losses were only up to 1%. The build up of yellow rust inoculum in the region raises concerns that in 2018, under favorable weather conditions in spring, winter wheat crops could be infected with the disease, especially in the wetter agroclimatic zones.
Primary Author: Volkova, All Russian Research Institute of Biological Plant Protection
With the TTKS family of races virulent on most genes currently providing protection against stem rust worldwide, identifying, mapping, and deploying resistance genes effective against these races has become critical. We present here a genetic map of Sr35. Both parents of our diploid mapping population (DV92/G3116, 142 SSD lines) are resistant to TTKSK, but the population segregates for resistance to TRTTF (Yemen) and RKQQC (US). Race analysis suggests that G3116 carries Sr21 and DV92 both Sr21 and Sr35. Resistance to TRTTF and RKQQC was mapped to a 6 cM interval on chromosome 3AmL between markers BF483299 and CJ656351. This interval corresponds to a 178-kb region in Brachypodium which contains only 16 annotated genes and exhibits a small inversion (including 2 genes) and a putative insertion (2 genes) relative to rice and sorghum. This map contains closely-linked markers to Sr35 and provides the initial step for this gene's positional cloning.
Primary Author: W. Zhang, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California-Davis, USA
Emergence of new virulent races of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst) to stripe (yellow) rust resistance genes in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) has historically resulted in severe yield losses worldwide. We conducted a study to characterize the virulence profiles of Pst races prevalent in Kenya from historic (1970-1992) and recent collections (2009-2014). Pst isolates collected during surveys in Kenya were characterized at the Global Rust Research Centre (GRRC), Denmark. Yellow rust differential sets (wheat lines with known Yr resistance genes), and strain-specific sequence-characterized-amplified-region (SCAR) markers were used to group the Pst isolates as Pst1 or Pst2. Virulence to Yr1, Yr2, Yr3,Yr6, Yr7, Yr8, Yr9, Yr17, Yr25, Yr27, and the seedling resistance in AvocetS were detected. A total of 12 virulence profiles /races were detected in isolates obtained during 1970 to 1992, while six races were detected from samples collected between 2009 to 2014. In both periods, races with virulence profiles Yr2, Yr6, Yr7, Yr8, Yr25, Yr27, Avs and Yr2, Yr6, Yr7, Yr8, Yr17, Yr25, AvS were common. The SCAR results revealed that both Pst1 and Pst2 strains were present in the Pst isolates tested, Pst1 even in isolates from the 1970s. Additional isolates were also identified with neither Pst1 nor Pst2 profiles. From our findings, race analysis is key to understand the race diversity and pre-breeding efforts for effective resistance gene deployment.
Primary Author: Wamalwa, Egerton University Njoro, Kenya
Rust outbreaks cause severe yield lossespose a serious threat to global food security. As biotrophic pathogens, rust fungi produce effectors to suppress host immunity. In this study, we used a systemic approach to identify and characterize effectors in Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici. Among secreted proteins encoded by the Pst genome, we identified 150 putative effectors that are Cys-rich or up-regulated during hostinfection. A systematic screen showed that 14 of them suppressed programmed cell death (PCD) triggered by BAX and INF1 in Nicotiana benthamiana, and all have high intra- and inter-species polymorphisms at the protein level. Although these 14 effectors individually made only minor contributions to Pst virulence, delivery of them into wheat plants via a bacterial type-III secretion system efficiently suppressed PTI and ETI. Interestingly, three of them, Pst_4941, Pst_4884, and Pst_5578, triggered HR-like PCD in the AvSYr1NIL, but only Pst_4941 also caused PCD in the AvSYr7 NIL, suggesting that they may function as avirulence factors. This study suggests that Pst effectors function to suppress PTI and ETI.
Primary Author: Wang, State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas and College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, P. R. China
RNA editing is an important way to convert cytidine (C) to uridine (U) at specific sites within RNA molecules at a post-transcriptional level in the chloroplasts of higher plants. Although it has been systematically studied in many plants, little is known about RNA editing in the wheat D genome donor Aegilops tauschii L. Here, we investigated the chloroplast RNA editing of Ae. tauschii and compared it with other wheat relatives to trace the evolution of wheat. Through bioinformatics prediction, a total of 34 C-to-U editing sites were identified, 17 of which were validated using RT-PCR product sequencing. Furthermore, 60 sites were found by the RNA-Seq read mapping approach, 24 of which agreed with the prediction and six were validated experimentally. The editing sites were biased toward tCn or nCa trinucleotides and 50-pyrimidines, which were consistent with the flanking bases of editing sites of other seed plants. Furthermore, the editing events could result in the alteration of the secondary structures and topologies of the corresponding proteins, suggesting that RNA editing might impact the function of target genes. Finally, comparative analysis found some evolutionarily conserved editing sites in wheat and two species-specific sites were also obtained. This study is the first to report on RNA editing in Aegilops tauschii L, which not only sheds light on the evolution of wheat from the point of view of RNA editing, but also lays a foundation for further studies to identify the mechanisms of C-to-U alterations.
Primary Author: Wang, State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
Wheat adult plant resistance (APR) to stripe rust, a non-race-specific and durable resistance, is ideal for breeding. However, the knowledge concerning APR mechanism is largely limited. In order to further investigate the molecular basics of APR to provide guidance for wheat breeding, we conducted the transcriptome sequencing of wheat XZ9104 infected by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst) at seeding and adult stages, respectively. Comparative analysis revealed that many WRKY transcription factors (TFs) may participate in the APR to stripe rust, of which, TaWRKY79 transcript levels were sharply elevated at the early infection stage in seedling plants. To dissect the relationship between TaWRKY79 and APR, we further studied the function of TaWRKY79. Subcellular localization showed that TaWRKY79 is located in the nuclear, and TaWRKY79 protein contains a separated region for mediating transcriptional activation at the C-terminus (246-328 aa) by yeast one-hybrid analysis. When TaWRKY79 was silenced by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in seedling plants, the Pst growth was attenuated, with shortened hyphae, reduced hyphal branches and colony size. Meanwhile, the expression of TaWRKY79 was highly suppressed by salicylic acid (SA) but induced by jasmonic acid (JA) in seedling of wheat, and the transcription levels of LOX2 and PDF2.2 were significantly reduced, but the expression of PR1.1 was enhanced in TaWRKY79 knocking-down seedlings of wheat. Hence, these findings suggested that TaWRKY79, as a SA/JA cross talk, might play a negative role in resistance defence response to Pst infection at seeding stage by simultaneously activating the JA-dependent pathway and suppressing the SA-dependent pathway.
Primary Author: Wang, Northwest A&F University