Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Defense against Fungal Pathogens

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Protection and Biotic Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 August 2024 | Viewed by 5811

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. State Key Laboratory of Ecological Pest Control for Fujian and Taiwan Crops, Ministerial and Provincial Joint Innovation Centre for Safety Production of Cross-Trait Crops, College of Plant Protection, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
2. Institute of Oceanography, Minjiang University, Fuzhou 350108, China
Interests: plant-fungal interactions
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Guest Editor
Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
Interests: rice immunity; development of plant resistance inducer

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fungi constitute the largest number of plant pathogens. They can infect all parts of the plant at any phase, causing very diverse and devastating diseases, such as root rot, stem rust, leaf blight, ergot, and so on, which results in severe losses in yield and quality of various agricultural systems worldwide. In the long term of survival competition with pathogenic micro-organisms, plant hosts have evolved a sophisticated defense system to defend themselves against pathogens. Over recent decades, the accumulation of knowledge of plant innate immunity guides us to control fungal diseases in an effective and environmentally friendly way. However, rapid pathogenicity variation of natural fungal isolates leading to the occurrence of new crop diseases urges us to explore plant immune signaling pathways further and deeper, and to clone more disease resistance genes for breeding. Therefore, the aim of this Special Issue of Plants is to pool and publish new discoveries about molecular mechanisms of plant defense against fungal pathogens, which will highlight, but not be limited to, PTI or ETI responses, defense hormone signaling, transcriptional reprogramming, small RNA interference, metabolic pathways, and other novel immune mechanisms in plants.

Prof. Dr. Zonghua Wang
Prof. Dr. Mo Wang
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • plants
  • immune responses
  • fungal pathogen
  • interaction
  • disease control

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 3868 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Analysis of the WRKY Transcription Factor Family in Roses and Their Putative Role in Defence Signalling in the Rose–Blackspot Interaction
by Helena Sophia Domes and Thomas Debener
Plants 2024, 13(8), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13081066 - 10 Apr 2024
Viewed by 780
Abstract
WRKY transcription factors are important players in plant regulatory networks, where they control and integrate various physiological processes and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Here, we analysed six rose genomes of 5 different species (Rosa chinensis, R. multiflora, R. [...] Read more.
WRKY transcription factors are important players in plant regulatory networks, where they control and integrate various physiological processes and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Here, we analysed six rose genomes of 5 different species (Rosa chinensis, R. multiflora, R. roxburghii, R. sterilis, and R. rugosa) and extracted a set of 68 putative WRKY genes, extending a previously published set of 58 WRKY sequences based on the R. chinensis genome. Analysis of the promoter regions revealed numerous motifs related to induction by abiotic and, in some cases, biotic stressors. Transcriptomic data from leaves of two rose genotypes inoculated with the hemibiotrophic rose black spot fungus Diplocarpon rosae revealed the upregulation of 18 and downregulation of 9 of these WRKY genes after contact with the fungus. Notably, the resistant genotype exhibited the regulation of 25 of these genes (16 upregulated and 9 downregulated), while the susceptible genotype exhibited the regulation of 20 genes (15 upregulated and 5 downregulated). A detailed RT–qPCR analysis of RcWRKY37, an orthologue of AtWRKY75 and FaWRKY1, revealed induction patterns similar to those of the pathogenesis-related (PR) genes induced in salicylic acid (SA)-dependent defence pathways in black spot inoculation experiments. However, the overexpression of RcWRKY37 in rose petals did not induce the expression of any of the PR genes upon contact with black spot. However, wounding significantly induced the expression of RcWRKY37, while heat, cold, or drought did not have a significant effect. This study provides the first evidence for the role of RcWRKY37 in rose signalling cascades and highlights the differences between RcWRKY37 and AtWRKY75. These results improve our understanding of the regulatory function of WRKY transcription factors in plant responses to stress factors. Additionally, they provide foundational data for further studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Defense against Fungal Pathogens)
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17 pages, 8875 KiB  
Article
Identification of Ossnrk1a−1 Regulated Genes Associated with Rice Immunity and Seed Set
by Yingying Cao, Minfeng Lu, Jinhui Chen, Wenyan Li, Mo Wang and Fengping Chen
Plants 2024, 13(5), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050596 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 917
Abstract
Sucrose non-fermenting–1-related protein kinase–1 (SnRK1) is a highly conserved serine–threonine kinase complex regulating plants’ energy metabolisms and resistance to various types of stresses. However, the downstream genes regulated by SnRK1 in these plant physiological processes still need to be explored. In this study, [...] Read more.
Sucrose non-fermenting–1-related protein kinase–1 (SnRK1) is a highly conserved serine–threonine kinase complex regulating plants’ energy metabolisms and resistance to various types of stresses. However, the downstream genes regulated by SnRK1 in these plant physiological processes still need to be explored. In this study, we found that the knockout of OsSnRK1a resulted in no obvious defects in rice growth but notably decreased the seed setting rate. The ossnrk1a mutants were more sensitive to blast fungus (Magnaporthe oryzae) infection and showed compromised immune responses. Transcriptome analyses revealed that SnRK1a was an important intermediate in the energy metabolism and response to biotic stress. Further investigation confirmed that the transcription levels of OsNADH-GOGAT2, which positively controls rice yield, and the defense-related gene pathogenesis-related protein 1b (OsPR1b) were remarkably decreased in the ossnrk1a mutant. Moreover, we found that OsSnRK1a directly interacted with the regulatory subunits OsSnRK1β1 and OsSnRK1β3, which responded specifically to blast fungus infection and starvation stresses, respectively. Taken together, our findings provide an insight into the mechanism of OsSnRK1a, which forms a complex with specific β subunits, contributing to rice seed set and resistance by regulating the transcription of related genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Defense against Fungal Pathogens)
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15 pages, 6794 KiB  
Article
Identification of Crucial Genes and Regulatory Pathways in Alfalfa against Fusarium Root Rot
by Shengze Wang, Haibin Han, Bo Zhang, Le Wang, Jie Wu, Zhengqiang Chen, Kejian Lin, Jianjun Hao, Ruifang Jia and Yuanyuan Zhang
Plants 2023, 12(20), 3634; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12203634 - 21 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1229
Abstract
Fusarium root rot, caused by Fusarium spp. in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), adversely impacts alfalfa by diminishing plant quality and yield, resulting in substantial losses within the industry. The most effective strategy for controlling alfalfa Fusarium root rot is planting disease-resistant varieties. [...] Read more.
Fusarium root rot, caused by Fusarium spp. in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), adversely impacts alfalfa by diminishing plant quality and yield, resulting in substantial losses within the industry. The most effective strategy for controlling alfalfa Fusarium root rot is planting disease-resistant varieties. Therefore, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms underlying alfalfa’s resistance to Fusarium root rot is imperative. In this study, we observed the infection process on alfalfa seedling roots infected by Fusarium acuminatum strain HM29-05, which is labeled with green fluorescent protein (GFP). Two alfalfa varieties, namely, the resistant ‘Kangsai’ and the susceptible ‘Zhongmu No. 1’, were examined to assess various physiological and biochemical activities at 0, 2, and 3 days post inoculation (dpi). Transcriptome sequencing of the inoculated resistant and susceptible alfalfa varieties were conducted, and the potential functions and signaling pathways of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were analyzed through gene ontology (GO) classification and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) enrichment analysis. Meanwhile, a DEG co-expression network was constructed though the weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) algorithm. Our results revealed significant alterations in soluble sugar, soluble protein, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents in both the ‘Kangsai’ and ‘Zhongmu No. 1’ varieties following the inoculation of F. acuminatum. WGCNA analysis showed the involvement of various enzyme and transcription factor families related to plant growth and disease resistance, including cytochrome P450, MYB, ERF, NAC, and bZIP. These findings not only provided valuable data for further verification of gene functions but also served as a reference for the deeper explorations between plants and pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Defense against Fungal Pathogens)
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21 pages, 4454 KiB  
Article
Unraveling the Molecular Mechanisms of Tomatoes’ Defense against Botrytis cinerea: Insights from Transcriptome Analysis of Micro-Tom and Regular Tomato Varieties
by Shifu Tian, Bojing Liu, Yanan Shen, Shasha Cao, Yinyan Lai, Guodong Lu, Zonghua Wang and Airong Wang
Plants 2023, 12(16), 2965; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12162965 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1895
Abstract
Botrytis cinerea is a devastating fungal pathogen that causes severe economic losses in global tomato cultivation. Understanding the molecular mechanisms driving tomatoes’ response to this pathogen is crucial for developing effective strategies to counter it. Although the Micro-Tom (MT) cultivar has been used [...] Read more.
Botrytis cinerea is a devastating fungal pathogen that causes severe economic losses in global tomato cultivation. Understanding the molecular mechanisms driving tomatoes’ response to this pathogen is crucial for developing effective strategies to counter it. Although the Micro-Tom (MT) cultivar has been used as a model, its stage-specific response to B. cinerea remains poorly understood. In this study, we examined the response of the MT and Ailsa Craig (AC) cultivars to B. cinerea at different time points (12–48 h post-infection (hpi)). Our results indicated that MT exhibited a stronger resistant phenotype at 18–24 hpi but became more susceptible to B. cinerea later (26–48 hpi) compared to AC. Transcriptome analysis revealed differential gene expression between MT at 24 hpi and AC at 22 hpi, with MT showing a greater number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Pathway and functional annotation analysis revealed significant differential gene expression in processes related to metabolism, biological regulation, detoxification, photosynthesis, and carbon metabolism, as well as some immune system-related genes. MT demonstrated an increased reliance on Ca2+ pathway-related proteins, such as CNGCs, CDPKs, and CaMCMLs, to resist B. cinerea invasion. B. cinerea infection induced the activation of PTI, ETI, and SA signaling pathways, involving the modulation of various genes such as FLS2, BAK1, CERK1, RPM, SGT1, and EDS1. Furthermore, transcription factors such as WRKY, MYB, NAC, and AUX/IAA families played crucial regulatory roles in tomatoes’ defense against B. cinerea. These findings provide valuable insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying tomatoes’ defense against B. cinerea and offer potential strategies to enhance plant resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Defense against Fungal Pathogens)
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