Molecular Biology and Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 3253

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, 1575 Varsity Drive, VRB, Module # 6, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Interests: rice, wheat, strawberry and tomato diseases; integrated disease management; plant-pathogen interactions, genetic mapping, and GWAS; RNA-seq analysis; genotyping-by-sequencing, and plant microbiomes
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plant pathogens are a major problem for both natural and agricultural systems, resulting in significant economic losses. These pathogens primarily infect plants by recognizing and binding to pathogen receptors on plant cell membranes. Despite this, plants have developed complex defense mechanisms, known as plant immunity, to protect against pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and nematodes. This innate plant immunity is based on identifying pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which trigger the plant's basal immune responses. These responses include rapid physiological changes such as calcium uptake and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). These changes then induce the production of secondary metabolites, including hormones such as salicylic acid (SA), jasmonic acid (JA), ethylene (ET), abscisic acid (ABA) and pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins. When triggered by PAMPs, the response is relatively small but effective against many pathogens.

 In contrast, effector-triggered immunity (ETI) is highly specific and is activated when plants recognize pathogen effectors. This response is much stronger and is often accompanied by a hypersensitive response (HR), leading to cell death at the site of attempted host colonization. Different trophic pathogens use different strategies to attack plant hosts, with phytopathogenic viruses invading plant cells and multiplying in their cytoplasm as biotrophic pathogens.

Plants have evolved intracellular receptors called nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeats (NLRs) to detect these cytoplasmic effectors and activate effector-triggered immunity. The interaction between these effectors and the plant immune network determines the outcome of plant–pathogen interactions. Understanding how pathogens adopt appropriate adaptive mechanisms during plant infection and exploiting the diversity of plant process mechanisms to control resistance/susceptibility to plant diseases will help protect natural and agroforestry ecosystems. This Special Issue aims to collect fascinating contributions that elucidate the complex interactions between plants and pathogens from a molecular biology and genomics perspective.

Dr. Tika Adhikari
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • plant–pathogen interactions
  • effectors
  • genomics study
  • disease resistance genes
  • molecular basis
  • immunity network
  • genome‐scale network
  • pathogenomics
  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • OMICS

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 3716 KiB  
Article
Dissection of Common Rust Resistance in Tropical Maize Multiparent Population through GWAS and Linkage Studies
by Linzhuo Li, Fuyan Jiang, Yaqi Bi, Xingfu Yin, Yudong Zhang, Shaoxiong Li, Xingjie Zhang, Meichen Liu, Jinfeng Li, Ranjan K. Shaw, Babar Ijaz and Xingming Fan
Plants 2024, 13(10), 1410; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13101410 - 18 May 2024
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Abstract
Common rust (CR), caused by Puccina sorghi, is a major foliar disease in maize that leads to quality deterioration and yield losses. To dissect the genetic architecture of CR resistance in maize, this study utilized the susceptible temperate inbred line Ye107 as [...] Read more.
Common rust (CR), caused by Puccina sorghi, is a major foliar disease in maize that leads to quality deterioration and yield losses. To dissect the genetic architecture of CR resistance in maize, this study utilized the susceptible temperate inbred line Ye107 as the male parent crossed with three resistant tropical maize inbred lines (CML312, D39, and Y32) to generate 627 F7 recombinant inbred lines (RILs), with the aim of identifying maize disease-resistant loci and candidate genes for common rust. Phenotypic data showed good segregation between resistance and susceptibility, with varying degrees of resistance observed across different subpopulations. Significant genotype effects and genotype × environment interactions were observed, with heritability ranging from 85.7% to 92.2%. Linkage and genome-wide association analyses across the three environments identified 20 QTLs and 62 significant SNPs. Among these, seven major QTLs explained 66% of the phenotypic variance. Comparison with six SNPs repeatedly identified across different environments revealed overlap between qRUST3-3 and Snp-203,116,453, and Snp-204,202,469. Haplotype analysis indicated two different haplotypes for CR resistance for both the SNPs. Based on LD decay plots, three co-located candidate genes, Zm00001d043536, Zm00001d043566, and Zm00001d043569, were identified within 20 kb upstream and downstream of these two SNPs. Zm00001d043536 regulates hormone regulation, Zm00001d043566 controls stomatal opening and closure, related to trichome, and Zm00001d043569 is associated with plant disease immune responses. Additionally, we performed candidate gene screening for five additional SNPs that were repeatedly detected across different environments, resulting in the identification of five candidate genes. These findings contribute to the development of genetic resources for common rust resistance in maize breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology and Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions)
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29 pages, 5793 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome-Wide N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) Methylation Analyses in a Compatible Wheat–Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici Interaction
by Elif Naz Cerav, Nan Wu and Mahinur S. Akkaya
Plants 2024, 13(7), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13070982 - 29 Mar 2024
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Abstract
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a prevalent internal modification in eukaryotic mRNA, tRNA, miRNA, and long non-coding RNA. It is also known for its role in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. However, a comprehensive m6A transcriptome-wide map [...] Read more.
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a prevalent internal modification in eukaryotic mRNA, tRNA, miRNA, and long non-coding RNA. It is also known for its role in plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. However, a comprehensive m6A transcriptome-wide map for Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst) infections in wheat (Triticum aestivum) is currently unavailable. Our study is the first to profile m6A modifications in wheat infected with a virulent Pst race. Analysis of RNA-seq and MeRIP-seq data revealed that the majority of differentially expressed genes are up-regulated and hyper-methylated. Some of these genes are enriched in the plant–pathogen interaction pathway. Notably, genes related to photosynthesis showed significant down-regulation and hypo-methylation, suggesting a potential mechanism facilitating successful Pst invasion by impairing photosynthetic function. The crucial genes, epitomizing the core molecular constituents that fortify plants against pathogenic assaults, were detected with varying expression and methylation levels, together with a newly identified methylation motif. Additionally, m6A regulator genes were also influenced by m6A modification, and their expression patterns varied at different time points of post-inoculation, with lower expression at early stages of infection. This study provides insights into the role of m6A modification regulation in wheat’s response to Pst infection, establishing a foundation for understanding the potential function of m6A RNA methylation in plant resistance or susceptibility to pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology and Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions)
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12 pages, 1113 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Association Analysis Uncovers Genes Associated with Resistance to Head Smut Pathotype 5 in Senegalese Sorghum Accessions
by Ezekiel Ahn, Louis K. Prom, Sunchung Park, Zhenbin Hu and Clint W. Magill
Plants 2024, 13(7), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13070977 - 29 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 874
Abstract
A newly documented pathotype 5 of the soil-borne fungus Sporisorium reilianum, causing head smut in sorghum, was tested against 153 unexplored Senegalese sorghum accessions. Among the 153 sorghum accessions tested, 63 (41%) exhibited complete resistance, showing no signs of infection by the [...] Read more.
A newly documented pathotype 5 of the soil-borne fungus Sporisorium reilianum, causing head smut in sorghum, was tested against 153 unexplored Senegalese sorghum accessions. Among the 153 sorghum accessions tested, 63 (41%) exhibited complete resistance, showing no signs of infection by the fungus. The remaining 90 accessions (59%) displayed varying degrees of susceptibility. Sorghum responses against S. reilianum were explored to analyze the potential link with previously known seed morphology-related traits and new phenotype data from 59 lines for seed weight. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) screened 297,876 SNPs and identified highly significant associations (p < 1 × 10−5) with head smut resistance in sorghum. By mapping these significant SNPs to the reference genome, this study revealed 35 novel candidate defense genes potentially involved in disease resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology and Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions)
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