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Pivoting from Arabidopsis to wheat to understand how agricultural plants integrate responses to biotic stress

M. O. Harris, T. L. Friesen, S. S. Xu, M. S. Chen, D. Giron, J. J. Stuart
Journal of experimental botany 2015 v.66 no.2 pp. 513-531
Arabidopsis, Mayetiola destructor, Nematoda, bacteria, biotic stress, crops, entomology, fungi, gene interaction, genes, genetic resistance, immunity, insects, mites, models, parasites, plant pathogens, plant pathology, plant-insect relations, proteins, sequence analysis, viruses, wheat
Here we argue for a research initiative on gene-for-gene (g-f-g) interactions between wheat and its parasites. One aim is to begin a conversation between the disparate communities of plant pathology and entomology. Another is to understand how responses to biotic stress are integrated in an important crop. The parasite's side of the g-f-g interaction is an Avirulence (Avr) gene that encodes one of the many effector proteins the parasite applies to the plant to assist with colonization. The plant's side is a Resistance (R) gene that mediates a surveillance system that detects the Avr protein and triggers effector-triggered plant immunity. Insects are responsible for a significant proportion of plant biotic stress but have not been fully integrated into plant pathology's models of plant immunity, where g-f-g interactions play an important role. One reason has been an absence of molecular evidence that insects interact with plants in a g-f-g manner. Thirty years after this evidence was discovered in a plant pathogen, there is now evidence for insects with the cloning of the Hessian fly's vH13 Avirulence gene. We review two models from plant pathology and discuss how insects could be included. We also review features that make wheat an interesting system for studying biotic stress, including 479 resistance genes known from agriculture that target viruses, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, and mites. Many of these parasites show g-f-g interactions and are likely to use an effector-based strategy of attack. Genome sequencing of wheat is improving its tractability as an experimental system.