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Constitutive Expression of the Xylanase Inhibitor TAXI-III Delays Fusarium Head Blight Symptoms in Durum Wheat Transgenic Plants

December 2013 , Volume 26 , Number  12
Pages  1,464 - 1,472

Ilaria Moscetti , 1 Silvio Tundo , 1 Michela Janni , 1 Luca Sella , 2 Katia Gazzetti , 2 Alexandra Tauzin , 3 Thierry Giardina , 3 Stefania Masci , 1 Francesco Favaron , 2 and Renato D'Ovidio 1

1Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie per l'Agricoltura, le Foreste, la Natura e l'Energia, (DAFNE), Università della Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis snc,01100 Viterbo, Italy; 2Dipartimento TeSAF, Agripolis, Università degli studi di Padova, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy; 3ISM2/BiosCiences UMR CNRS7313, case 342, Université d'Aix-Marseille, 13397 Marseille cedex 20, France

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Accepted 2 August 2013.

Cereals contain xylanase inhibitor (XI) proteins which inhibit microbial xylanases and are considered part of the defense mechanisms to counteract microbial pathogens. Nevertheless, in planta evidence for this role has not been reported yet. Therefore, we produced a number of transgenic plants constitutively overexpressing TAXI-III, a member of the TAXI type XI that is induced by pathogen infection. Results showed that TAXI-III endows the transgenic wheat with new inhibition capacities. We also showed that TAXI-III is correctly secreted into the apoplast and possesses the expected inhibition parameters against microbial xylanases. The new inhibition properties of the transgenic plants correlate with a significant delay of Fusarium head blight disease symptoms caused by Fusarium graminearum but do not significantly influence leaf spot symptoms caused by Bipolaris sorokiniana. We showed that this contrasting result can be due to the different capacity of TAXI-III to inhibit the xylanase activity of these two fungal pathogens. These results provide, for the first time, clear evidence in planta that XI are involved in plant defense against fungal pathogens and show the potential to manipulate TAXI-III accumulation to improve wheat resistance against F. graminearum.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society