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Tripathi L.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Mwaka H.,National Agriculture Research Organisation | Mwaka H.,Makerere University | Tripathi J.N.,International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture | Tushemereirwe W.K.,National Agriculture Research Organisation
Molecular Plant Pathology

Banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW), caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum, is the most devastating disease of banana in the Great Lakes region of Africa. The pathogen's rapid spread has threatened the livelihood of millions of Africans who rely on banana fruit for food security and income. The disease is very destructive, infecting all banana varieties, including both East African Highland bananas and exotic types of banana. In the absence of natural host plant resistance among banana cultivars, the constitutive expression of the hypersensitivity response-assisting protein (Hrap) gene from sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum) was evaluated for its ability to confer resistance to BXW. Transgenic lines expressing the Hrap gene under the regulation of the constitutive CaMV35S promoter were generated using embryogenic cell suspensions of two banana cultivars: 'Sukali Ndiizi' and 'Mpologoma'. These lines were characterized by molecular analysis, and were challenged with Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum to analyse the efficacy of the Hrap gene against BXW. The majority of transgenic lines (six of eight) expressing Hrap did not show any symptoms of infection after artificial inoculation of potted plants in the screenhouse, whereas control nontransgenic plants showed severe symptoms resulting in complete wilting. This study demonstrates that the constitutive expression of the sweet pepper Hrap gene in banana results in enhanced resistance to BXW. We describe the development of transgenic banana varieties resistant to BXW, which will boost the arsenal available to fight this epidemic disease and save livelihoods in the Great Lakes region of East and Central Africa. © 2010 iita/naro. molecular plant pathology © 2010 Bspp and blackwell publishing ltd. Source

Biruma M.,Makerere University | Biruma M.,National Agriculture Research Organisation | Martin T.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Fridborg I.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 2 more authors.
Theoretical and Applied Genetics

The aim of this work was to identify plant resistance genes to the sorghum anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum sublineolum. cDNA-AFLP transcript profiling on two contrasting sorghum genotypes inoculated with C. sublineolum generated about 3,000 informative fragments. In a final set of 126 sequenced genes, 15 were identified as biotic stress related. Seven of the plant-derived genes were selected for functional analysis using a Brome mosaic virus-based virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) system followed by fungal inoculation and quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The candidate set comprised genes encoding resistance proteins (Cs1A, Cs2A), a lipid transfer protein (SbLTP1), a zinc finger-like transcription factor (SbZnTF1), a rice defensin-like homolog (SbDEFL1), a cell death related protein (SbCDL1), and an unknown gene harboring a casein kinase 2-like domain (SbCK2). Our results demonstrate that down-regulation of Cs1A, Cs2A, SbLTP1, SbZnF1 and SbCD1 via VIGS, significantly compromised the resistance response while milder effects were observed with SbDEFL1 and SbCK2. Expanded genome analysis revealed that Cs1A and Cs2A genes are located in two different loci on chromosome 9 closely linked with duplicated genes Cs1B and Cs2B, respectively. The nucleotide binding-leucine rich repeat (NB-LRR) encoding Cs gene sequence information is presently employed in regional breeding programs. © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

Martin T.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Biruma M.,Makerere University | Biruma M.,National Agriculture Research Organisation | Fridborg I.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 2 more authors.
BMC Plant Biology

Background: The fungal pathogen Setosphaeria turcica causes turcicum or northern leaf blight disease on maize, sorghum and related grasses. A prevalent foliar disease found worldwide where the two host crops, maize and sorghum are grown. The aim of the present study was to find genes controlling the host defense response to this devastating plant pathogen. A cDNA-AFLP approach was taken to identify candidate sequences, which functions were further validated via virus induced gene silencing (VIGS), and real-time PCR analysis. Phylogenetic analysis was performed to address evolutionary events.Results: cDNA-AFLP analysis was run on susceptible and resistant sorghum and maize genotypes to identify resistance-related sequences. One CC-NB-LRR encoding gene GRMZM2G005347 was found among the up-regulated maize transcripts after fungal challenge. The new plant resistance gene was designated as St referring to S. turcica. Genome sequence comparison revealed that the CC-NB-LRR encoding St genes are located on chromosome 2 in maize, and on chromosome 5 in sorghum. The six St sorghum genes reside in three pairs in one locus. When the sorghum St genes were silenced via VIGS, the resistance was clearly compromised, an observation that was supported by real-time PCR. Database searches and phylogenetic analysis suggest that the St genes have a common ancestor present before the grass subfamily split 50-70 million years ago. Today, 6 genes are present in sorghum, 9 in rice and foxtail millet, respectively, 3 in maize and 4 in Brachypodium distachyon. The St gene homologs have all highly conserved sequences, and commonly reside as gene pairs in the grass genomes.Conclusions: Resistance genes to S. turcica, with a CC-NB-LRR protein domain architecture, have been found in maize and sorghum. VIGS analysis revealed their importance in the surveillance to S. turcica in sorghum. The St genes are highly conserved in sorghum, rice, foxtail millet, maize and Brachypodium, suggesting an essential evolutionary function. © 2011 Martin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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