Resistance that stacks up: engineering rust and mildew disease control in the cereal crops wheat and barley

Peter M. Dracatos*, Jing Lu, Javier Sánchez-Martín, Brande B.H. Wulff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Staying ahead of the arms race against rust and mildew diseases in cereal crops is essential to maintain and preserve food security. The methodological challenges associated with conventional resistance breeding are major bottlenecks for deploying resistance (R) genes in high-yielding crop varieties. Advancements in our knowledge of plant genomes, structural mechanisms, innovations in bioinformatics, and improved plant transformation techniques have alleviated this bottleneck by permitting rapid gene isolation, functional studies, directed engineering of synthetic resistance and precise genome manipulation in elite crop cultivars. Most cloned cereal R genes encode canonical immune receptors which, on their own, are prone to being overcome through selection for resistance-evading pathogenic strains. However, the increasingly large repertoire of cloned R genes permits multi-gene stacking that, in principle, should provide longer-lasting resistance. This review discusses how these genomics-enabled developments are leading to new breeding and biotechnological opportunities to achieve durable rust and powdery mildew control in cereals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1938-1951
Number of pages14
JournalPlant biotechnology journal
Volume21
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to BBHW, La Trobe University and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to PMD, and a China Scholarship Council fellowship to JL. JSM is recipient of the grant ‘Ramon y Cajal’ Fellowship RYC2021-032699-I funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by the ‘European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTR’. JSM acknowledges the support of the Junta de Castilla y León through the projects ‘Escalera de Excelencia CLU-2018-04, and CL-EI-2021-04 support to the internationalisation of AGRIENVIRONMENT - Unidad Producción Agrícola y Medioambiente’ of the University of Salamanca, both co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF ‘Europe drives our growth’). We thank Xianming Chen (Washington State University), Jim Kolmer, Bob McIntosh, Simon Krattinger and Erich-Christian Oerke (University of Bonn) for helpful discussions and Emma Waller for the artwork.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to B.B.H.W., La Trobe University and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to P.M.D., and a China Scholarship Council fellowship to J.L. JSM is recipient of the grant ‘Ramon y Cajal’ Fellowship RYC2021‐032699‐I funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033 and by the ‘European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTR’. JSM acknowledges the support of the Junta de Castilla y León through the projects ‘Escalera de Excelencia CLU‐2018‐04, and CL‐EI‐2021‐04 support to the internationalisation of AGRIENVIRONMENT ‐ Unidad Producción Agrícola y Medioambiente’ of the University of Salamanca, both co‐financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF ‘Europe drives our growth’).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • biotechnology
  • biotrophic pathogens
  • cereal rusts
  • genomics
  • powdery mildew
  • resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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