[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fusarium head blight (FHB; scab), primarily caused by Fusarium graminearum, is a devastating disease of wheat worldwide. FHB causes yield reductions and contamination of grains with trichothecene mycotoxins such as deoxynivalenol (DON). The genetic variation in existing wheat germplasm pools for FHB resistance is low and may not provide sufficient resistance to develop cultivars through traditional breeding approaches. Thus, genetic engineering provides an additional approach to enhance FHB resistance. The objectives of this study were to develop transgenic wheat expressing a barley class II chitinase and to test the transgenic lines against F. graminearum infection under greenhouse and field conditions. A barley class II chitinase gene was introduced into the spring wheat cultivar, Bobwhite, by biolistic bombardment. Seven transgenic lines were identified that expressed the chitinase transgene and exhibited enhanced Type II resistance in the greenhouse evaluations. These seven transgenic lines were tested under field conditions for percentage FHB severity, percentage visually scabby kernels (VSK), and DON accumulation. Two lines (C8 and C17) that exhibited high chitinase protein levels also showed reduced FHB severity and VSK compared to Bobwhite. One of the lines (C8) also exhibited reduced DON concentration compared with Bobwhite. These results showed that transgenic wheat expressing a barley class II chitinase exhibited enhanced resistance against F. graminearum in greenhouse and field conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat, caused by Fusarium graminearum and other Fusarium species, is a major disease problem for wheat production worldwide. To combat this problem, large-scale breeding efforts have been established. Although progress has been made through standard breeding approaches, the level of resistance attained is insufficient to withstand epidemic conditions. Genetic engineering provides an alternative approach to enhance the level of resistance. Many defense response genes are induced in wheat during F. graminearum infection and may play a role in reducing FHB. The objectives of this study were (1) to develop transgenic wheat overexpressing the defense response genes alpha-1-purothionin, thaumatin-like protein 1 (tlp-1), and beta-1,3-glucanase; and (2) to test the resultant transgenic wheat lines against F. graminearum infection under greenhouse and field conditions. Using the wheat cultivar Bobwhite, we developed one, two, and four lines carrying the alpha-1-purothionin, tlp-1, and beta-1,3-glucanase transgenes, respectively, that had statistically significant reductions in FHB severity in greenhouse evaluations. We tested these seven transgenic lines under field conditions for percent FHB disease severity, deoxynivalenol (DON) mycotoxin accumulation, and percent visually scabby kernels (VSK). Six of the seven lines differed from the nontransgenic parental Bobwhite line for at least one of the disease traits. A beta-1,3-glucanase transgenic line had enhanced resistance, showing lower FHB severity, DON concentration, and percent VSK compared to Bobwhite. Taken together, the results showed that overexpression of defense response genes in wheat could enhance the FHB resistance in both greenhouse and field conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fusarium head blight (FHB), caused primarily by Fusarium graminearum, is a major disease problem in wheat (Triticum aestivum). Genetic engineering holds significant potential to enhance FHB resistance in wheat. Due to the requirement of screening for FHB resistance on flowers at anthesis, the number of screens carried out in a year is limited. Our objective was to evaluate the feasibility of using the rapid-maturing dwarf wheat cultivar Apogee as an alternative genotype for transgenic FHB resistance research. Our transformation efficiency (number of transgenic plants/number of embryos) for Apogee was 1.33%. Apogee was also found to exhibit high FHB susceptibility and reached anthesis within 4 weeks. Interestingly, microsatellite marker haplotype analysis of the chromosome 3BS FHB resistant quantitative trait locus (QTL) region indicated that this region maybe deleted in Apogee. Our results indicate that Apogee is particularly well suited for accelerating transgenic FHB resistance research and transgenic wheat research in general.