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Special Issue "Plant Disease Resistance"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maria R. Ercolano
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, University of Naples Federico, Napoli, Italy
Interests: plant genomic; R-genes; new resistance genes; bioinformatics platform
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During their life, plants are continuously exposed to a variety of natural enemies and thus have evolved a sophisticated defense mechanism against pathogens. The plant immune system employs a wide repertoire of immune receptors, organized in networks with varying degrees of complexity able to detect pathogen effector proteins and to activate defense responses. Among them, nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeats (NLRs) and other leucine-rich repeat receptors (RLPs; RLKs) have been proven to play a major role both in pathogen recognition and in defense response signaling. The isolation of resistance genes (R-gene) and their genetic analysis has allowed us to improve our knowledge of plant immune system evolution and functioning. During the last years, molecular complex interactions among pathways during a given plant-pathogen interaction were elucidated. Understanding resistance molecular mechanisms and discovering more R- genes is vital to improve their use in agriculture.

This Special Issue will highlight recent advances in the understanding of mechanisms of plant defense response by elucidating immune receptors structure and activation mechanisms and by illustrating evolution models and plant molecular and physiological mechanisms functioning. Multidisciplinary approaches that can describe the evolution, function, and regulation of the plant immune system are welcome. Researchers can contribute with original research findings and review and perspective articles to this issue.

Dr. Maria R. Ercolano
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • phatogen recpetor genes
  • defense mechanisms
  • signaling pathway interplay
  • evolution
  • plant-pathogen interaction
  • OMICS

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Article
Comparative Transcriptome Analysis of Rutabaga (Brassica napus) Cultivars Indicates Activation of Salicylic Acid and Ethylene-Mediated Defenses in Response to Plasmodiophora brassicae
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 8381; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218381 - 08 Nov 2020
Viewed by 718
Abstract
Clubroot, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, is an important soilborne disease of Brassica napus L. and other crucifers. To improve understanding of the mechanisms of resistance and pathogenesis in the clubroot pathosystem, the rutabaga (B. napus subsp. rapifera Metzg) cultivars ‘Wilhelmsburger’ (resistant) [...] Read more.
Clubroot, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, is an important soilborne disease of Brassica napus L. and other crucifers. To improve understanding of the mechanisms of resistance and pathogenesis in the clubroot pathosystem, the rutabaga (B. napus subsp. rapifera Metzg) cultivars ‘Wilhelmsburger’ (resistant) and ‘Laurentian’ (susceptible) were inoculated with P. brassicae pathotype 3A and their transcriptomes were analyzed at 7, 14, and 21 days after inoculation (dai) by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Thousands of transcripts with significant changes in expression were identified in each host at each time-point in inoculated vs. non-inoculated plants. Molecular responses at 7 and 14 dai supported clear differences in the clubroot response mechanisms of the two genotypes. Both the resistant and the susceptible cultivars activated receptor-like protein (RLP) genes, resistance (R) genes, and genes involved in salicylic acid (SA) signaling as clubroot defense mechanisms. In addition, genes related to calcium signaling and genes encoding leucine-rich repeat (LRR) receptor kinases, the respiratory burst oxidase homolog (RBOH) protein, and transcription factors such as WRKYs, ethylene responsive factors, and basic leucine zippers (bZIPs), appeared to be upregulated in ‘Wilhelmsburger’ to restrict P. brassicae development. Some of these genes are essential components of molecular defenses, including ethylene (ET) signaling and the oxidative burst. Our study highlights the importance of activation of genes associated with SA- and ET-mediated responses in the resistant cultivar. A set of candidate genes showing contrasting patterns of expression between the resistant and susceptible cultivars was identified and includes potential targets for further study and validation through approaches such as gene editing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
A Comprehensive Analysis of MicroRNAs Expressed in Susceptible and Resistant Rice Cultivars during Rhizoctonia solani AG1-IA Infection Causing Sheath Blight Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 7974; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21217974 - 27 Oct 2020
Viewed by 960
Abstract
MicroRNAs regulate plant responses to fungal infections and immunity. In this study, miRNAs were identified in six rice cultivars during a Rhizoctonia solani Kühn AG1-IA infection using a deep sequencing approach. Known and novel miRNAs were analyzed in these rice cultivars, and a [...] Read more.
MicroRNAs regulate plant responses to fungal infections and immunity. In this study, miRNAs were identified in six rice cultivars during a Rhizoctonia solani Kühn AG1-IA infection using a deep sequencing approach. Known and novel miRNAs were analyzed in these rice cultivars, and a set of fungal infection/immunity-associated miRNAs and target genes were quantified by reverse transcription (RT)-qPCR in six rice cultivars. Additionally, the relative expression of these miRNAs was analyzed in different time points of the infection, wild species of rice, and in response to different strains of R. solani. Osa-miR1320-5p showed preferential expression during the fungal infection in all the six rice genotypes, while Osa-miR156d, Osa-miR159b, Osa-miR820c, and Osa-miR1876 were differentially regulated in susceptible and resistant genotypes. A greater degree of downregulation of miRNAs was observed during the initial time points of infection (24–72 h), suggesting a maximum molecular activity of rice-R. solani interaction and resistance response of the host during the early phase of infection. After R. solani infection, the expression of Osa-miR820c and Osa-miR156d was downregulated in Oryza rufipogon, O. alta, O. latifolia, and O. minuta, while Osa-miR397b was downregulated in all the wild rice species except O. officinalis. This study provided comprehensive information on the repertoire of miRNAs expressed in six sheath blight disease-susceptible and resistant indica and aus rice cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Epigenetic and Metabolic Changes in Root-Knot Nematode-Plant Interactions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(20), 7759; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207759 - 20 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 536
Abstract
Two wild-type field populations of root-knot nematodes (Mi-Vfield, Mj-TunC2field), and two isolates selected for virulence in laboratory on resistant tomato cultivars (SM2V, SM11C2), were used to induce a resistance reaction in tomato to the soil-borne parasites. Epigenetic and metabolic [...] Read more.
Two wild-type field populations of root-knot nematodes (Mi-Vfield, Mj-TunC2field), and two isolates selected for virulence in laboratory on resistant tomato cultivars (SM2V, SM11C2), were used to induce a resistance reaction in tomato to the soil-borne parasites. Epigenetic and metabolic mechanisms of resistance were detected and compared with those occurring in partially or fully successful infections. The activated epigenetic mechanisms in plant resistance, as opposed to those activated in infected plants, were detected by analyzing the methylated status of total DNA, by ELISA methods, and the expression level of key genes involved in the methylation pathway, by qRT-PCR. DNA hypo-methylation and down-regulation of two methyl-transferase genes (CMT2, DRM5), characterized the only true resistant reaction obtained by inoculating the Mi-1.2-carrying resistant tomato cv Rossol with the avirulent field population Mi-Vfield. On the contrary, in the roots into which nematodes were allowed to develop and reproduce, total DNA was generally found to be hyper-methylated and methyl-transferase genes up-loaded. DNA hypo-methylation was considered to be the upstream mechanism that triggers the general gene over-expression observed in plant resistance. Gene silencing induced by nematodes may be obtained through DNA hyper-methylation and methyl-transferase gene activation. Plant resistance is also characterized by an inhibition of the anti-oxidant enzyme system and activation of the defense enzyme chitinase, as opposed to the activation of such a system and inhibition of the defense enzyme glucanase in roots infested by nematodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
OsExo70B1 Positively Regulates Disease Resistance to Magnaporthe oryzae in Rice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(19), 7049; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21197049 - 25 Sep 2020
Viewed by 703
Abstract
The exocyst, an evolutionarily conserved octameric protein complex, mediates tethering of vesicles to the plasma membrane in the early stage of exocytosis. Arabidopsis Exo70, a subunit of the exocyst complex, has been found to be involved in plant immunity. Here, we characterize the [...] Read more.
The exocyst, an evolutionarily conserved octameric protein complex, mediates tethering of vesicles to the plasma membrane in the early stage of exocytosis. Arabidopsis Exo70, a subunit of the exocyst complex, has been found to be involved in plant immunity. Here, we characterize the function of OsExo70B1 in rice. OsExo70B1 mainly expresses in leaf and shoot and its expression is induced by pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (M. oryzae). Knocking out OsExo70B1 results in significantly decreased resistance and defense responses to M. oryzae compared to the wild type, including more disease lesions and enhanced fungal growth, downregulated expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) genes, and decreased reactive oxygen species accumulation. In contrast, the exo70B1 mutant does not show any defects in growth and development. Furthermore, OsExo70B1 can interact with the receptor-like kinase OsCERK1, an essential component for chitin reception in rice. Taken together, our data demonstrate that OsExo70B1 functions as an important regulator in rice immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Identification and Functional Analysis of AopN, an Acidovorax Citrulli Effector that Induces Programmed Cell Death in Plants
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(17), 6050; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21176050 - 22 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
Bacterial fruit blotch (BFB), caused by Acidovorax citrulli, seriously affects watermelon and other cucurbit crops, resulting in significant economic losses. However, the pathogenicity mechanism of A. citrulli is not well understood. Plant pathogenic bacteria often suppress the plant immune response by secreting [...] Read more.
Bacterial fruit blotch (BFB), caused by Acidovorax citrulli, seriously affects watermelon and other cucurbit crops, resulting in significant economic losses. However, the pathogenicity mechanism of A. citrulli is not well understood. Plant pathogenic bacteria often suppress the plant immune response by secreting effector proteins. Thus, identifying A. citrulli effector proteins and determining their functions may improve our understanding of the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms. In this study, a novel effector, AopN, which is localized on the cell membrane of Nicotiana benthamiana, was identified. The functional analysis revealed that AopN significantly inhibited the flg22-induced reactive oxygen species burst. AopN induced a programmed cell death (PCD) response. Unlike its homologous protein, the ability of AopN to induce PCD was dependent on two motifs of unknown functions (including DUP4129 and Cpta_toxin), but was not dependent on LXXLL domain. More importantly, the virulence of the aopN mutant of A. citrulli in N. benthamiana significantly decreased, indicating that it was a core effector. Further analysis revealed that AopN interacted with watermelon ClHIPP and ClLTP, which responds to A. citrulli strain Aac5 infection at the transcription level. Collectively, these findings indicate that AopN suppresses plant immunity and activates the effector-triggered immunity pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Melon Genome Regions Associated with TGR-1551-Derived Resistance to Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(17), 5970; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21175970 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) is one of the main limiting factors of melon cultivation worldwide. To date, no commercial melon cultivars resistant to CYSDV are available. The African accession TGR-1551 is resistant to CYSDV. Two major quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have [...] Read more.
Cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) is one of the main limiting factors of melon cultivation worldwide. To date, no commercial melon cultivars resistant to CYSDV are available. The African accession TGR-1551 is resistant to CYSDV. Two major quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been previously reported, both located near each other in chromosome 5. With the objective of further mapping the gene or genes responsible of the resistance, a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from the cross between TGR-1551 and the susceptible cultivar ‘Bola de Oro’ was evaluated for resistance to CYSDV in five different assays and genotyped in a genotyping by sequencing (GBS) analysis. The major effect of one of the two QTLs located on chromosome 5 was confirmed in the multienvironment RIL assay and additionally verified through the analysis of three segregating BC1S1 populations derived from three resistant RILs. Furthermore, progeny test using the offspring of selected BC3 plants allowed the narrowing of the candidate interval to a 700 kb region. The SNP markers identified in this work will be useful in marker-assisted selection in the context of introgression of CYSDV resistance in elite cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Integrated Framework of the Immune-Defense Transcriptional Signatures in the Arabidopsis Shoot Apical Meristem
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(16), 5745; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165745 - 11 Aug 2020
Viewed by 833
Abstract
The growing tips of plants grow sterile; therefore, disease-free plants can be generated from them. How plants safeguard growing apices from pathogen infection is still a mystery. The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is one of the three stem cells niches that give rise [...] Read more.
The growing tips of plants grow sterile; therefore, disease-free plants can be generated from them. How plants safeguard growing apices from pathogen infection is still a mystery. The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is one of the three stem cells niches that give rise to the above ground plant organs. This is very well explored; however, how signaling networks orchestrate immune responses against pathogen infections in the SAM remains unclear. To reconstruct a transcriptional framework of the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) pertaining to various SAM cellular populations, we acquired large-scale transcriptome datasets from the public repository Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO). We identify here distinct sets of genes for various SAM cellular populations that are enriched in immune functions, such as immune defense, pathogen infection, biotic stress, and response to salicylic acid and jasmonic acid and their biosynthetic pathways in the SAM. We further linked those immune genes to their respective proteins and identify interactions among them by mapping a transcriptome-guided SAM-interactome. Furthermore, we compared stem-cells regulated transcriptome with innate immune responses in plants showing transcriptional separation among their DEGs in Arabidopsis. Besides unleashing a repertoire of immune-related genes in the SAM, our analysis provides a SAM-interactome that will help the community in designing functional experiments to study the specific defense dynamics of the SAM-cellular populations. Moreover, our study promotes the essence of large-scale omics data re-analysis, allowing a fresh look at the SAM-cellular transcriptome repurposing data-sets for new questions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
CaCML13 Acts Positively in Pepper Immunity Against Ralstonia solanacearum Infection Forming Feedback Loop with CabZIP63
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(11), 4186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21114186 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 760
Abstract
Ca2+-signaling—which requires the presence of calcium sensors such as calmodulin (CaM) and calmodulin-like (CML) proteins—is crucial for the regulation of plant immunity against pathogen attack. However, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive, especially the roles of CMLs involved in plant immunity remains [...] Read more.
Ca2+-signaling—which requires the presence of calcium sensors such as calmodulin (CaM) and calmodulin-like (CML) proteins—is crucial for the regulation of plant immunity against pathogen attack. However, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive, especially the roles of CMLs involved in plant immunity remains largely uninvestigated. In the present study, CaCML13, a calmodulin-like protein of pepper that was originally found to be upregulated by Ralstonia solanacearum inoculation (RSI) in RNA-seq, was functionally characterized in immunity against RSI. CaCML13 was found to target the whole epidermal cell including plasma membrane, cytoplasm and nucleus. We also confirmed that CaCML13 was upregulated by RSI in pepper roots by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). The silencing of CaCML13 significantly enhanced pepper plants’ susceptibility to RSI accompanied with downregulation of immunity-related CaPR1, CaNPR1, CaDEF1 and CabZIP63. In contrast, CaCML13 transient overexpression induced clear hypersensitivity-reaction (HR)-mimicked cell death and upregulation of the tested immunity-related genes. In addition, we also revealed that the G-box-containing CaCML13 promoter was bound by CabZIP63 and CaCML13 was positively regulated by CabZIP63 at transcriptional level. Our data collectively indicate that CaCML13 act as a positive regulator in pepper immunity against RSI forming a positive feedback loop with CabZIP63. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Acid Soil Improvement Enhances Disease Tolerance in Citrus Infected by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(10), 3614; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21103614 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 801
Abstract
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating citrus disease that has caused massive economic losses to the citrus industry worldwide. The disease is endemic in most citrus-producing areas of southern China, especially in the sweet orange orchards where soil acidification has intensified. In this work, [...] Read more.
Huanglongbing (HLB) is a devastating citrus disease that has caused massive economic losses to the citrus industry worldwide. The disease is endemic in most citrus-producing areas of southern China, especially in the sweet orange orchards where soil acidification has intensified. In this work, we used lime as soil pH amendment to optimize soil pH and enhance the endurance capacity of citrus against Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas). The results showed that regulation of soil acidity is effective to reduce the occurrence of new infections and mitigate disease severity in the presence of HLB disease. We also studied the associated molecular mechanism and found that acid soil improvement can (i) increase the root metabolic activity and up-regulate the expression of ion transporter-related genes in HLB-infected roots, (ii) alleviate the physiological disorders of sieve tube blockage of HLB-infected leaves, (iii) strengthen the citrus immune response by increasing the expression of genes involved in SAR and activating the salicylic acid signal pathway, (iv) up-regulate 55 proteins related to stress/defence response and secondary metabolism. This study contributes to a better understanding of the correlation between environment factors and HLB disease outbreaks and also suggests that acid soil improvement is of potential value for the management of HLB disease in southern China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
The Histological, Effectoromic, and Transcriptomic Analyses of Solanum pinnatisectum Reveal an Upregulation of Multiple NBS-LRR Genes Suppressing Phytophthora infestans Infection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093211 - 01 May 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Utilization of disease resistance components from wild potatoes is a promising and sustainable approach to control Phytophthora blight. Here, we combined avirulence (Avr) genes screen with RNA-seq analysis to discover the potential mechanism of resistance in Mexican wild potato species, Solanum [...] Read more.
Utilization of disease resistance components from wild potatoes is a promising and sustainable approach to control Phytophthora blight. Here, we combined avirulence (Avr) genes screen with RNA-seq analysis to discover the potential mechanism of resistance in Mexican wild potato species, Solanum pinnatisectum. Histological characterization displayed that hyphal expansion was significantly restricted in epidermal cells and mesophyll cell death was predominant, indicating that a typical defense response was initiated in S. pinnatisectum. Inoculation of S. pinnatisectum with diverse Phytophthora infestans isolates showed distinct resistance patterns, suggesting that S. pinnatisectum has complex genetic resistance to most of the prevalent races of P. infestans in northwestern China. Further analysis by Avr gene screens and comparative transcriptomic profiling revealed the presence and upregulation of multiple plant NBS-LRR genes corresponding to biotic stresses. Six NBS-LRR alleles of R1, R2, R3a, R3b, R4, and Rpi-smira2 were detected, and over 60% of the 112 detected NLR proteins were significantly induced in S. pinnatisectum. On the contrary, despite the expression of the Rpi-blb1, Rpi-vnt1, and Rpi-smira1 alleles, fewer NLR proteins were expressed in susceptible Solanum cardophyllum. Thus, the enriched NLR genes in S. pinnatisectum make it an ideal genetic resource for the discovery and deployment of resistance genes for potato breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
LreEF1A4, a Translation Elongation Factor from Lilium regale, Is Pivotal for Cucumber Mosaic Virus and Tobacco Rattle Virus Infections and Tolerance to Salt and Drought
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2083; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062083 - 18 Mar 2020
Viewed by 985
Abstract
Eukaryotic translation elongation factors are implicated in protein synthesis across different living organisms, but their biological functions in the pathogenesis of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and tobacco rattle virus (TRV) infections are poorly understood. Here, we isolated and characterized a cDNA clone, LreEF1A4, [...] Read more.
Eukaryotic translation elongation factors are implicated in protein synthesis across different living organisms, but their biological functions in the pathogenesis of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and tobacco rattle virus (TRV) infections are poorly understood. Here, we isolated and characterized a cDNA clone, LreEF1A4, encoding the alpha subunit of elongation factor 1, from a CMV-elicited suppression subtractive hybridization library of Lilium regale. The infection tests using CMV remarkably increased transcript abundance of LreEF1A4; however, it also led to inconsistent expression profiles of three other LreEF1A homologs (LreEF1A1–3). Protein modelling analysis revealed that the amino acid substitutions among four LreEF1As may not affect their enzymatic functions. LreEF1A4 was ectopically overexpressed in petunia (Petunia hybrida), and transgenic plants exhibited delayed leaf and flower senescence, concomitant with increased transcription of photosynthesis-related genes and reduced expression of senescence-associated genes, respectively. A compromised resistance to CMV and TRV infections was found in transgenic petunia plants overexpressing LreEF1A4, whereas its overexpression resulted in an enhanced tolerance to salt and drought stresses. Taken together, our data demonstrate that LreEF1A4 functions as a positive regulator in viral multiplication and plant adaption to high salinity and dehydration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Major Latex Protein MdMLP423 Negatively Regulates Defense against Fungal Infections in Apple
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1879; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051879 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1089
Abstract
Major latex proteins (MLPs) play critical roles in plants defense and stress responses. However, the roles of MLPs from apple (Malus × domestica) have not been clearly identified. In this study, we focused on the biological role of MdMLP423, which [...] Read more.
Major latex proteins (MLPs) play critical roles in plants defense and stress responses. However, the roles of MLPs from apple (Malus × domestica) have not been clearly identified. In this study, we focused on the biological role of MdMLP423, which had been previously characterized as a potential pathogenesis-related gene. Phylogenetic analysis and conserved domain analysis indicated that MdMLP423 is a protein with a ‘Gly-rich loop’ (GXGGXG) domain belonging to the Bet v_1 subfamily. Gene expression profiles showed that MdMLP423 is mainly expressed in flowers. In addition, the expression of MdMLP423 was significantly inhibited by Botryosphaeria berengeriana f. sp. piricola (BB) and Alternaria alternata apple pathotype (AAAP) infections. Apple calli overexpressing MdMLP423 had lower expression of resistance-related genes, and were more sensitive to infection with BB and AAAP compared with non-transgenic calli. RNA-seq analysis of MdMLP423-overexpressing calli and non-transgenic calli indicated that MdMLP423 regulated the expression of a number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and transcription factors, including genes involved in phytohormone signaling pathways, cell wall reinforcement, and genes encoding the defense-related proteins, AP2-EREBP, WRKY, MYB, NAC, Zinc finger protein, and ABI3. Taken together, our results demonstrate that MdMLP423 negatively regulates apple resistance to BB and AAAP infections by inhibiting the expression of defense- and stress-related genes and transcription factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Transcriptome Analysis of Rice Roots in Response to Root-Knot Nematode Infection
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21030848 - 28 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
Meloidogyne incognita and Meloidogyne graminicola are root-knot nematodes (RKNs) infecting rice (Oryza sativa L.) roots and severely decreasing yield, whose mechanisms of action remain unclear. We investigated RKN invasion and development in rice roots through RNA-seq transcriptome analysis. The results showed that [...] Read more.
Meloidogyne incognita and Meloidogyne graminicola are root-knot nematodes (RKNs) infecting rice (Oryza sativa L.) roots and severely decreasing yield, whose mechanisms of action remain unclear. We investigated RKN invasion and development in rice roots through RNA-seq transcriptome analysis. The results showed that 952 and 647 genes were differently expressed after 6 (invasion stage) and 18 (development stage) days post inoculation, respectively. Gene annotation showed that the differentially expressed genes were classified into diverse metabolic and stress response categories. Furthermore, phytohormone, transcription factor, redox signaling, and defense response pathways were enriched upon RKN infection. RNA-seq validation using qRT-PCR confirmed that CBL-interacting protein kinase (CIPK) genes (CIPK5, 8, 9, 11, 14, 23, 24, and 31) as well as brassinosteroid (BR)-related genes (OsBAK1, OsBRI1, D2, and D11) were altered by RKN infection. Analysis of the CIPK9 mutant and overexpressor indicated that the RKN populations were smaller in cipk9 and larger in CIPK9 OX, while more galls were produced in CIPK9 OX plant roots than the in wild-type roots. Significantly fewer numbers of second-stage infective juveniles (J2s) were observed in the plants expressing the BR biosynthesis gene D2 mutant and the BR receptor BRI1 activation-tagged mutant (bri1-D), and fewer galls were observed in bri1-D roots than in wild-type roots. The roots of plants expressing the regulator of ethylene signaling ERS1 (ethylene response sensor 1) mutant contained higher numbers of J2s and developed more galls compared with wild-type roots, suggesting that these signals function in RKN invasion or development. Our findings broaden our understanding of rice responses to RKN invasion and provide useful information for further research on RKN defense mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Modulation of (Homo)Glutathione Metabolism and H2O2 Accumulation during Soybean Cyst Nematode Infections in Susceptible and Resistant Soybean Cultivars
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(2), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21020388 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 906
Abstract
In plant immune responses, reactive oxygen species (ROS) act as signaling molecules that activate defense pathways against pathogens, especially following resistance (R) gene-mediated pathogen recognition. Glutathione (GSH), an antioxidant and redox regulator, participates in the removal of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 [...] Read more.
In plant immune responses, reactive oxygen species (ROS) act as signaling molecules that activate defense pathways against pathogens, especially following resistance (R) gene-mediated pathogen recognition. Glutathione (GSH), an antioxidant and redox regulator, participates in the removal of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). However, the mechanism of GSH-mediated H2O2 generation in soybeans (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) that are resistant to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN; Heterodera glycines Ichinohe) remains unclear. To elucidate this underlying relationship, the feeding of race 3 of H. glycines with resistant cultivars, Peking and PI88788, was compared with that on a susceptible soybean cultivar, Williams 82. After 5, 10, and 15 days of SCN infection, we quantified γ-glutamylcysteine (γ-EC) and (homo)glutathione ((h)GSH), and a gene expression analysis showed that GSH metabolism in resistant cultivars differed from that in susceptible soybean roots. ROS accumulation was examined both in resistant and susceptible roots upon SCN infection. The time of intense ROS generation was related to the differences of resistance mechanisms in Peking and PI88788. ROS accumulation that was caused by the (h)GSH depletion-arrested nematode development in susceptible Williams 82. These results suggest that (h)GSH metabolism in resistant soybeans plays a key role in the regulation of ROS-generated signals, leading to resistance against nematodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Article
Comparative Transcriptome Profiling of Resistant and Susceptible Sugarcane Cultivars in Response to Infection by Xanthomonas albilineans
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246138 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1256
Abstract
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) is a major source of sugar and renewable bioenergy crop worldwide and suffers serious yield losses due to many pathogen infections. Leaf scald caused by Xanthomonas albilineans is a major bacterial disease of sugarcane in most sugarcane-planting countries. [...] Read more.
Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) is a major source of sugar and renewable bioenergy crop worldwide and suffers serious yield losses due to many pathogen infections. Leaf scald caused by Xanthomonas albilineans is a major bacterial disease of sugarcane in most sugarcane-planting countries. The molecular mechanisms of resistance to leaf scald in this plant are, however, still unclear. We performed a comparative transcriptome analysis between resistant (LCP 85-384) and susceptible (ROC20) sugarcane cultivars infected by X. albilineans using the RNA-seq platform. 24 cDNA libraries were generated with RNA isolated at four time points (0, 24, 48, and 72 h post inoculation) from the two cultivars with three biological replicates. A total of 105,783 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in both cultivars and the most upregulated and downregulated DEGs were annotated for the processes of the metabolic and single-organism categories, respectively. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis of the 7612 DEGs showed that plant–pathogen interaction, spliceosome, glutathione metabolism, protein processing in endoplasmic reticulum, and plant hormone signal transduction contributed to sugarcane’s response to X. albilineans infection. Subsequently, relative expression levels of ten DEGs determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR), in addition to RNA-Seq data, indicated that different plant hormone (auxin and ethylene) signal transduction pathways play essential roles in sugarcane infected by X. albilineans. In conclusion, our results provide, for the first time, valuable information regarding the transcriptome changes in sugarcane in response to infection by X. albilineans, which contribute to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the interactions between sugarcane and this pathogen and provide important clues for further characterization of leaf scald resistance in sugarcane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Review

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Review
Update on Cuticular Wax Biosynthesis and Its Roles in Plant Disease Resistance
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(15), 5514; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155514 - 01 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
The aerial surface of higher plants is covered by a hydrophobic layer of cuticular waxes to protect plant tissues against enormous environmental challenges including the infection of various pathogens. As the first contact site between plants and pathogens, the layer of cuticular waxes [...] Read more.
The aerial surface of higher plants is covered by a hydrophobic layer of cuticular waxes to protect plant tissues against enormous environmental challenges including the infection of various pathogens. As the first contact site between plants and pathogens, the layer of cuticular waxes could function as a plant physical barrier that limits the entry of pathogens, acts as a reservoir of signals to trigger plant defense responses, and even gives cues exploited by pathogens to initiate their infection processes. Past decades have seen unprecedented proceedings in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of plant cuticular waxes and their functions regulating plant–pathogen interactions. In this review, we summarized the recent progress in the molecular biology of cuticular wax biosynthesis and highlighted its multiple roles in plant disease resistance against bacterial, fungal, and insect pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Review
The Emerging Role of Long Non-Coding RNAs in Plant Defense Against Fungal Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2659; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082659 - 11 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Growing interest and recent evidence have identified long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) as the potential regulatory elements for eukaryotes. LncRNAs can activate various transcriptional and post-transcriptional events that impact cellular functions though multiple regulatory functions. Recently, a large number of lncRNAs have also been [...] Read more.
Growing interest and recent evidence have identified long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) as the potential regulatory elements for eukaryotes. LncRNAs can activate various transcriptional and post-transcriptional events that impact cellular functions though multiple regulatory functions. Recently, a large number of lncRNAs have also been identified in higher plants, and an understanding of their functional role in plant resistance to infection is just emerging. Here, we focus on their identification in crop plant, and discuss their potential regulatory functions and lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA network in plant pathogen stress responses, referring to possible examples in a model plant. The knowledge gained from a deeper understanding of this colossal special group of plant lncRNAs will help in the biotechnological improvement of crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Review
Overview of Biotic Stresses in Pepper (Capsicum spp.): Sources of Genetic Resistance, Molecular Breeding and Genomics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072587 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1906
Abstract
Pepper (Capsicum spp.) is one of the major vegetable crops grown worldwide largely appreciated for its economic importance and nutritional value. This crop belongs to the large Solanaceae family, which, among more than 90 genera and 2500 species of flowering plants, includes [...] Read more.
Pepper (Capsicum spp.) is one of the major vegetable crops grown worldwide largely appreciated for its economic importance and nutritional value. This crop belongs to the large Solanaceae family, which, among more than 90 genera and 2500 species of flowering plants, includes commercially important vegetables such as tomato and eggplant. The genus includes over 30 species, five of which (C. annuum, C. frutescens, C. chinense, C. baccatum, and C. pubescens) are domesticated and mainly grown for consumption as food and for non-food purposes (e.g., cosmetics). The main challenges for vegetable crop improvement are linked to the sustainable development of agriculture, food security, the growing consumers’ demand for food. Furthermore, demographic trends and changes to climate require more efficient use of plant genetic resources in breeding programs. Increases in pepper consumption have been observed in the past 20 years, and for maintaining this trend, the development of new resistant and high yielding varieties is demanded. The range of pathogens afflicting peppers is very broad and includes fungi, viruses, bacteria, and insects. In this context, the large number of accessions of domesticated and wild species stored in the world seed banks represents a valuable resource for breeding in order to transfer traits related to resistance mechanisms to various biotic stresses. In the present review, we report comprehensive information on sources of resistance to a broad range of pathogens in pepper, revisiting the classical genetic studies and showing the contribution of genomics for the understanding of the molecular basis of resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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Review
An Overview of the Molecular Genetics of Plant Resistance to the Verticillium Wilt Pathogen Verticillium dahliae
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(3), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21031120 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1407
Abstract
Verticillium dahliae is a soil-borne hemibiotrophic fungus that can lead to plant vascular disease and significant economic loss worldwide. Its hosts include over 400 dicotyledon plant species, such as annual herbs, perennials, and woody plants. The average yield loss of cotton crop caused [...] Read more.
Verticillium dahliae is a soil-borne hemibiotrophic fungus that can lead to plant vascular disease and significant economic loss worldwide. Its hosts include over 400 dicotyledon plant species, such as annual herbs, perennials, and woody plants. The average yield loss of cotton crop caused by Verticillium wilt is approximately 10–35%. As the control of this disease is an urgent task for many countries, further understanding of the interaction between plants and V. dahliae is essential. Fungi can promote or inhibit plant growth, which is important; however, the most important relationship between plants and fungi is the host–pathogen relationship. Plants can become resistant to V. dahliae through diverse mechanisms such as cell wall modifications, extracellular enzymes, pattern recognition receptors, transcription factors, and salicylic acid (SA)/jasmonic acid (JA)/ethylene (ET)-related signal transduction pathways. Over the last decade, several studies on the physiological and molecular mechanisms of plant resistance to V. dahliae have been undertaken. In this review, many resistance-related genes are summarised to provide a theoretical basis for better understanding of the molecular genetic mechanisms of plant resistance to V. dahliae. Moreover, it is intended to serve as a resource for research focused on the development of genetic resistance mechanisms to combat Verticillium wilt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Disease Resistance)
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