Defense gene expression is potentiated in transgenic barley expressing antifungal peptide metchnikowin throughout powdery mildew challenge
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Transgenesis of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) from different origins has emerged as an option for improvement of crop disease resistance since proof-of-concept for their activities against microbial phytopathogens is provided, persistently. Nevertheless, a more systematic approach based on knowledge of AMPs modes of action including elucidation of their cellular targets and possible impact on immune system considerably improves and diversifies the armory against harmful plant diseases. In present study, the impact of Metchnikowin (Mtk) expression in barley in terms of modulating different immune pathways was investigated. Monitoring of transcript abundance of different genes involved in key immune pathways of SAR, ISR, and redox milieu during interaction of Mtk barley with biotrophic Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) demonstrated that several immune responses are modulated in Mtk transgenic plants. Present findings substantiate the higher activation of SAR pathway as well as ISR pathway in transgenic plants. Regarding susceptibility factors, nonetheless MLO gene is expressed more in Mtk plants and should lead to an increased cellular accessibility to Bgh, its impact is presumably overwhelmed by other mechanism(s) so that the plants show more resistance when challenging with Bgh. On the other hand, no obvious difference was observed between expression level of Bax inhibitor-1 (BI-1) in transgenic and wild type plants, which could be an indicative of its neutrality in resistance/susceptibility of transgenic plants to Bgh. The provided evidence on the involved pathways in Mtk-induced resistance improves our knowledge concerning impacts of AMPs expressed in diverse plant species on immune system of relevant transgenic plants.
KeywordsAntimicrobial peptides Barley SAR ISR Metchnikowin
The authors thank the research grant from Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman (Iran) as well as Ministry for Science and Art of the state of Hesse (Germany) for funding both the LOEWE research focus “Insect Biotechnology” and the Fraunhofer group Bioresources.
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