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Gene. 2013 Jul 25;524(2):220-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2013.04.019. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

Overexpression of a wheat stearoyl-ACP desaturase (SACPD) gene TaSSI2 in Arabidopsis ssi2 mutant compromise its resistance to powdery mildew.

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Key Laboratory of Crop Heterosis and Utilization (MOE) and State Key Laboratory for Agrobiotechnology, Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


Fatty acids and their derivatives play important roles in plant defense responses. It has been shown that a mutation in a gene encoding one of stearoyl acyl carrier protein fatty acid desaturase isoforms (ssi2 mutant) enhances the resistance of Arabidopsis to multiple pathogens, and similar results were obtained in rice and soybean. However, it is unknown whether the ssi2 mutant is also resistant to powdery mildew (Golovinomyces cichoracearum). In this study, the ssi2 mutant showed enhanced resistance to powdery mildew. Furthermore, we described the cloning and characterization of the TaSSI2 gene (ortholog of AtSSI2) from wheat. Functional analysis of TaSSI2 was performed by overexpressing TaSSI2 in ssi2 mutant of Arabidopsis. The result indicated that ectopic expression of TaSSI2 restored the WT like morphology in the ssi2 background, the 35S:TaSSI2/ssi2 plants accumulated WT-like levels of oleic acid (18:1) and the transcript levels of R genes were significantly lower than that in ssi2 plants. In contrast to the constitutive PR gene expression in ssi2 plants, the transcript accumulation of PR1 and PR2 was similar in the 35S:TaSSI2/ssi2 and wild type both before and after inoculation. Trypan blue staining showed that extensive fungal hyphae and conidiophores were produced in wild-type and 35S:TaSSI2/ssi2 leaves while no visible powdery mildew growth was observed, but dramatic lesions developed at the infection sites in the ssi2 mutant leaves. Our results demonstrated that TaSSI2 is involved in the negative regulation of defense responses in powdery mildew infection, similar to its counterparts in Arabidopsis, indicating a highly conserved function of SSI2 gene in diverse plants.

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