Host-preferential Fusarium graminearum gene expression during infection of wheat, barley, and maize

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Abstract

Fusarium graminearum is a broad host pathogen threatening cereal crops in temperate regions around the world. To better understand how F. graminearum adapts to different hosts, we have performed a comparison of the transcriptome of a single strain of F. graminearum during early infection (up to 4 d post-inoculation) of barley, maize, and wheat using custom oligomer microarrays. Our results showed high similarity between F. graminearum transcriptomes in infected wheat and barley spike tissues. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to validate the gene expression profiles of 24 genes. Host-specific expression of genes was observed in each of the three hosts. This included expression of distinct sets of genes associated with transport and secondary metabolism in each of the three crops, as well as host-specific patterns for particular gene categories such as sugar transporters, integral membrane protein PTH11-like proteins, and chitinases. This study identified 69 F. graminearum genes as preferentially expressed in developing maize kernels relative to wheat and barley spikes. These host-specific differences showcase the genomic flexibility of F. graminearum to adapt to a range of hosts.

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Harris, L. J., Balcerzak, M., Johnston, A., Schneiderman, D., & Ouellet, T. (2016). Host-preferential Fusarium graminearum gene expression during infection of wheat, barley, and maize. Fungal Biology, 120(1), 111–123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2015.10.010

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