5 years ago

RNA-Seq analysis of resistant and susceptible sub-tropical maize lines reveals a role for kauralexins in resistance to grey leaf spot disease, caused by Cercospora zeina

RNA-Seq analysis of resistant and susceptible sub-tropical maize lines reveals a role for kauralexins in resistance to grey leaf spot disease, caused by Cercospora zeina
Shawn A. Christensen, Jacqueline Meyer, Shane L. Murray, Dave K. Berger
Cercospora zeina is a foliar pathogen responsible for maize grey leaf spot in southern Africa that negatively impacts maize production. Plants use a variety of chemical and structural mechanisms to defend themselves against invading pathogens such as C. zeina, including the production of secondary metabolites with antimicrobial properties. In maize, a variety of biotic and abiotic stressors induce the accumulation of the terpenoid phytoalexins, zealexins and kauralexins. C. zeina-susceptible line displayed pervasive rectangular grey leaf spot lesions, running parallel with the leaf veins in contrast to C. zeina-resistant line that had restricted disease symptoms. Analysis of the transcriptome of both lines indicated that genes involved in primary and secondary metabolism were up-regualted, and although different pathways were prioritized in each line, production of terpenoid compounds were common to both. Targeted phytoalexin analysis revealed that C. zeina-inoculated leaves accumulated zealexins and kauralexins. The resistant line shows a propensity toward accumulation of the kauralexin B series metabolites in response to infection, which contrasts with the susceptible line that preferentially accumulates the kauralexin A series. Kauralexin accumulation was correlated to expression of the kauralexin biosynthetic gene, ZmAn2 and a candidate biosynthetic gene, ZmKSL2. We report the expression of a putative copalyl diphosphate synthase gene that is induced by C. zeina in the resistant line exclusively. This study shows that zealexins and kauralexins, and expression of their biosynthetic genes, are induced by C. zeina in both resistant and susceptible germplasm adapted to the southern African climate. The data presented here indicates that different forms of kauralexins accumulate in the resistant and susceptible maize lines in response to C. zeina, with the accumulation of kauralexin B compounds in a resistant maize line and kauralexin A compounds accumulating in the susceptible line.
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