|Title of Project|
|Resistance is Futile: searching for Fusarium Head Blight susceptibility factors in wheat.|
|This project going to be…|
|Full Name of Supervisor|
|Institution Department and Address|
|John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7UH
|Full name of the day to day supervisor and/or arrangements for supervision|
|Supervision will be shared between Paul Nicholson and Roshani Badgami (2nd year PhD student). Both PN and RB have office space adjacent to the laboratory. The student will be provided with desk space in the office alongside RB as well as a separate space within the laboratory. The student will have daily contact with both supervisors.|
|Date of Project Commencement|
|Brief Description of Project|
|Over 24 million tonnes of global wheat crops succumb to a destructive fungal disease known as Fusarium Head blight (FHB) annually. The fungal pathogen, Fusarium graminearum, causes premature spike bleaching and produces mycotoxins that accumulate in grain, directly affecting yield and safety. While there have been decades of research into FHB resistance, developing highly-resistant wheat has been challenging. A promising avenue for achieving host resistance is to identify plant genes permitting pathogen success. These genes are known as susceptibility factors. Deletion or mutation of these susceptibility factors can result in recessive resistance that can be both broad-spectrum and durable.
This 10-week project aims to refine promising FHB susceptibility loci on the chromosome arms 4DS and 7AS. Hexaploid wheat can withstand large deletions in its sub-genomes. Therefore, the student will screen a selection of gamma-irradiated wheat deletion lines with overlapping deletions spanning these loci (lines already sown). This will involve hands-on experience assessing FHB disease progression in the polytunnel and analysing data using R. The extent of the susceptibility factor-containing deletion will be determined by KASP PCRs. This work will refine susceptibility loci to small regions and allow the identification of individual potential candidate genes. Candidate genes will be further elucidated by gene expression analysis of publicly available RNA-seq data. As little is known about host FHB susceptibility factors, this project will help unravel molecular dialogues during host-pathogen interactions and how Fusarium exploits its wheat host. Owing to collaborations of the Nicholson lab with industry, the results will be of immediate benefit for developing robust future wheat varieties.
The project will take place in the Nicholson Lab at the John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich. The JIC is a centre for cutting-edge research in plant science and microbiology. This project provides a fantastic opportunity to be part of a fun lab in a bustling science community.
|Attach the recommended reading for the project|
|Review on Susceptibility genes:
Van Schie, C., Takken, F. (2014) Suceptibility genes 101: how to be a good host. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 52: 551-81. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-102313-045854.FHB susceptibility factors:
Fabre F, Rocher F, Alouane T, Langin T, Bonhomme L. (2020) Searching for FHB Resistances in Bread Wheat: Susceptibility at the Crossroad. Front Plant Sci. 11:731. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00731.Potential FHB susceptibility locus on chromosome arm 4DS:
Hales, B., Steed, A., Giovannelli, V., Burt, C., Lemmens, M., Molnár-Láng, M., Nicholson. P/ (2020) Type II Fusarium head blight susceptibility conferred by a region on wheat chromosome 4D, Journal of Experimental Botany. 71(16):4703-4714 https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/eraa226Potential FHB susceptibility locus on chromosome arm 7AS:
Chhabra B, Tiwari V, Gill BS, Dong Y, Rawat N. (2021) Discovery of a susceptibility factor for Fusarium head blight on chromosome 7A of wheat. Theor Appl Genet. 134(7):2273-2289. doi: 10.1007/s00122-021-03825-y. Epub 2021 Apr 8. PMID: 33834252.