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Title: Functional evaluation of plant defence signalling against Fusarium graminearum and F. culmorum in Arabidopsis floral tissue
Author: Brewer, Helen Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 6060
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2014
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Fusarium Ear Blight (FEB) is a globally important floral disease of cereal crops such as wheat, maize and barley. The predominant causal agents of FEB disease of wheat in the UK are Fusarium culmorum and F. graminearum. Wheat infecting isolates of both of these fungal species infect the floral and silique tissues of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, providing a tractable model for analysis of factors determining plant susceptibility or resistance to Fusarium infection. The effect of F. culmorum infection on the metabolic composition (metabolome) of Arabidopsis pedicel tissue following silique inoculation was investigated in a collection of mutants with altered defence responses to F. culmorum and/or other plant pathogens, using a 1¬H-NMR/ESI-MS (+/-) triple fingerprinting approach. These mutants showed differing metabolomic fingerprints in the absence of F. culmorum infection, as well as differences in accumulation or depletion of metabolites in response to F. culmorum colonisation. A number of metabolites were also identified which were induced by F. culmorum infection irrespective of plant genotype. Quantitative differences in compound accumulation were also observed between genotypes in the Columbia and Landsberg erecta accessions following F. culmorum infection. One of the genotypes investigated was eds11, which has enhanced susceptibility to F. culmorum floral infection. Mapping of the mutation responsible for the eds11 phenotype was initiated using an isogenic mapping by sequencing approach. This resulted in a list of potential candidates for the EDS11 gene. Additional Arabidopsis mutants were investigated for altered defence responses to F. culmorum floral infection. Multiple mutant alleles of the Arabidopsis homoserine kinase gene DMR1 were found to have enhanced resistance to F. culmorum silique infection and rosette leaf colonisation, associated with accumulation of homoserine in siliques and delayed leaf senescence. Exogenous homoserine application enhanced resistance in wild type and dmr1 plants. Collectively, these findings form a novel contribution to current knowledge of the Fusarium-Arabidopsis interaction. This may have applications for improvement of FEB resistance in cereals.
Supervisor: Grant, Murray Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Arabidopsis ; Fusarium Ear Blight ; resistance ; susceptibility ; Metabolomics