Pathogen-inducible Ta-Lr34res expression in heterologous barley confers disease resistance without negative pleiotropic effects

Rainer Boni, Harsh Chauhan, Goetz Hensel, Anne Roulin, Justine Sucher, Jochen Kumlehn, Susanne Brunner, Simon G. Krattinger*, Beat Keller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Plant diseases are a serious threat to crop production. The informed use of naturally occurring disease resistance in plant breeding can greatly contribute to sustainably reduce yield losses caused by plant pathogens. The Ta-Lr34res gene encodes an ABC transporter protein and confers partial, durable, and broad spectrum resistance against several fungal pathogens in wheat. Transgenic barley lines expressing Ta-Lr34res showed enhanced resistance against powdery mildew and leaf rust of barley. While Ta-Lr34res is only active at adult stage in wheat, Ta-Lr34res was found to be highly expressed already at the seedling stage in transgenic barley resulting in severe negative effects on growth. Here, we expressed Ta-Lr34res under the control of the pathogen-inducible Hv-Ger4c promoter in barley. Sixteen independent barley transformants showed strong resistance against leaf rust and powdery mildew. Infection assays and growth parameter measurements were performed under standard glasshouse and near-field conditions using a convertible glasshouse. Two Hv-Ger4c::Ta-Lr34res transgenic events were analysed in detail. Plants of one transformation event had similar grain production compared to wild-type under glasshouse and near-field conditions. Our results showed that negative effects caused by constitutive high expression of Ta-Lr34res driven by the endogenous wheat promoter in barley can be eliminated by inducible expression without compromising disease resistance. These data demonstrate that Ta-Lr34res is agronomically useful in barley. We conclude that the generation of a large number of transformants in different barley cultivars followed by early field testing will allow identifying barley lines suitable for breeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalPlant biotechnology journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Barley
  • Lr34/Yr18/Sr57/Pm38
  • barley leaf rust
  • durable disease resistance
  • fungal pathogens
  • powdery mildew

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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