Plant Biotechnology Journal (2019) 17, 1567-1581

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Ashish Ranjan, Nathaniel M. Westrick, Sachin Jain, Jeff S. Piotrowski, Manish Ranjan, Ryan Kessens, Logan Stiegman, Craig R. Grau, Shawn P. Conley, Damon L. Smith and Mehdi Kabbage (2019)
Resistance against Sclerotinia sclerotiorum in soybean involves a reprogramming of the phenylpropanoid pathway and up-regulation of antifungal activity targeting ergosterol biosynthesis
Plant Biotechnology Journal 17 (8), 1567-1581
Abstract: Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, a predominately necrotrophic fungal pathogen with a broad host range, causes a significant yield-limiting disease of soybean called Sclerotinia stem rot. Resistance mechanisms against this pathogen in soybean are poorly understood, thus hindering the commercial deployment of resistant varieties. We used a multiomic approach utilizing RNA-sequencing, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and chemical genomics in yeast to decipher the molecular mechanisms governing resistance to S. sclerotiorum in soybean. Transcripts and metabolites of two soybean recombinant inbred lines, one resistant and one susceptible to S. sclerotiorum were analysed in a time course experiment. The combined results show that resistance to S. sclerotiorum in soybean is associated in part with an early accumulation of JA-Ile ((+)-7-iso-jasmonoyl-L-isoleucine), a bioactive jasmonate, increased ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species, and importantly, a reprogramming of the phenylpropanoid pathway leading to increased antifungal activities. Indeed, we noted that phenylpropanoid pathway intermediates, such as 4-hydroxybenzoate, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid and caffeic acid, were highly accumulated in the resistant line. In vitro assays show that these metabolites and total stem extracts from the resistant line clearly affect S. sclerotiorum growth and development. Using chemical genomics in yeast, we further show that this antifungal activity targets ergosterol biosynthesis in the fungus, by disrupting enzymes involved in lipid and sterol biosynthesis. Overall, our results are consistent with a model where resistance to S. sclerotiorum in soybean coincides with an early recognition of the pathogen, leading to the modulation of the redox capacity of the host and the production of antifungal metabolites.
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Database assignments for author(s): Shawn P. Conley, Damon L. Smith

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum Soybean (Glycine max)