U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Environmental effects on resistance gene expression in milk stage popcorn kernels and associations with mycotoxin production

Patrick F. Dowd, Eric T. Johnson
Mycotoxin research 2015 v.31 no.2 pp. 63-82
aflatoxins, cell walls, chitinase, dent corn, disease resistance, ears, filling period, gene expression, genes, insects, peroxidases, popcorn, proteinase inhibitors, rain, regulatory proteins, secondary metabolites, seeds, temperature
Like other forms of maize, popcorn is subject to increased levels of contamination by a variety of different mycotoxins under stress conditions, although levels generally are less than dent maize under comparable stress. Gene array analysis was used to determine expression differences of disease resistance-associated genes in milk stage kernels from commercial popcorn fields over 3 years. Relatively lower expression of resistance gene types was noted in years with higher temperatures and lower rainfall, which was consistent with prior results for many previously identified resistance response-associated genes. The lower rates of expression occurred for genes such as chitinases, protease inhibitors, and peroxidases; enzymes involved in the synthesis of cell wall barriers and secondary metabolites; and regulatory proteins. However, expression of several specific resistance genes previously associated with mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin in dent maize, was not affected. Insect damage altered the spectrum of resistance gene expression differences compared to undamaged ears. Correlation analyses showed expression differences of some previously reported resistance genes that were highly associated with mycotoxin levels and included glucanases, protease inhibitors, peroxidases, and thionins.