Z.tritici suppresses the wheat immune system systemically
The fungus „Zymoseptoria tritici“ is a specialized wheat pathogen and can be responsible for major crop shortfalls. The Max Planck Fellow Group “Environmental Genomics”, led by Eva Stukenbrock, found out that Z. tritici damages the immune system of the infected plant systemically beyond the the local infection and thus makes it susceptible for further infections.
The researchers call this systemic induced susceptibility, short SIS. Fungal-induced SIS enabled growth of co-infecting bacterial pathogens. In contrast, the resistant cultivar, which also was examined, activated immune responses after fungal infection and showed systemic acquired resistance (SAR) against the bacterial co-infection.
The researchers were able to correlate their observations of SIS and SAR with systemic changes in plant metabolite composition. They focused on metabolites with known functions in plant defense and were able to correlate them with their observations from the fungal-bacterial co-infections. These findings were published in “Nature Communication” and are an important step towards the development of new strategies to fight this wheat pathogen.
The research group “Environmental Genomics” is a cooperation between Kiel University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology. The press release of Kiel University can be found here (in German): https://www.uni-kiel.de/de/detailansicht/news/108-seybold-ncomms
Publication: Nature Communications, published: 20 April 2020
Website research group Environmental Genomics: https://www.evolbio.mpg.de/2984078/environmentalgenomics
Teaser image on front page: (c) Dr. Amine Hassani