Biology & Environmental Science Research Collection

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 122
  • Publication
    Characterization of a Wheat Breeders' Array suitable for high-throughput SNP genotyping of global accessions of hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum)
    Targeted selection and inbreeding have resulted in a lack of genetic diversity in elite hexaploid bread wheat accessions. Reduced diversity can be a limiting factor in the breeding of high yielding varieties and crucially can mean reduced resilience in the face of changing climate and resource pressures. Recent technological advances have enabled the development of molecular markers for use in the assessment and utilization of genetic diversity in hexaploid wheat. Starting with a large collection of 819 571 previously characterized wheat markers, here we describe the identification of 35 143 single nucleotide polymorphism-based markers, which are highly suited to the genotyping of elite hexaploid wheat accessions. To assess their suitability, the markers have been validated using a commercial high-density Affymetrix Axiom® genotyping array (the Wheat Breeders' Array), in a high-throughput 384 microplate configuration, to characterize a diverse global collection of wheat accessions including landraces and elite lines derived from commercial breeding communities. We demonstrate that the Wheat Breeders' Array is also suitable for generating high-density genetic maps of previously uncharacterized populations and for characterizing novel genetic diversity produced by mutagenesis. To facilitate the use of the array by the wheat community, the markers, the associated sequence and the genotype information have been made available through the interactive web site 'CerealsDB'.
      10Scopus© Citations 233
  • Publication
    Serpins: Genome-wide characterisation and expression analysis of the serine protease inhibitor family in Triticum aestivum
    (Oxford University Press, 2019-08-01) ; ;
    The serine protease inhibitor (serpin) gene family is the largest family of protease inhibitors. Serine protease inhibitors have an active, but under-characterized, role in grain development and defense against pathogen attack in cereal crops. By exploiting publicly available genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data for wheat (Triticum aestivum), we have identified and annotated the entire 'serpinome' of wheat and constructed a high-quality and robust phylogenetic tree of the gene family, identifying paralogous and homeologous clades from the hexaploid wheat genome, including the Serpin-Z group that have been well characterized in barley. Using publicly available RNAseq data (, expression profiles of the wheat serpins were explored across a variety of tissues from the developing grain, spikelet and spike. We show that the SERPIN-Z clade, among others, are highly expressed during grain development, and that there is homeologous and paralogous functional redundancy in this gene family. Further to their role in grain development, serpins play an important but under-explored role in response to fungal pathogens. Using 13 RNAseq datasets of wheat tissues infected by fungal pathogens, we identified 37 serpins with a significant disease response. The majority of the disease-responsive serpins were upregulated by Fusarium graminearum, a destructive fungal pathogen that attacks the spike and developing grain of wheat. As serpins are ubiquitous in wheat grain, the genes encoding serpins may be linked to grain development, with their disease response a result of pleiotropy.
      15Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    High-density SNP genotyping array for hexaploid wheat and its secondary and tertiary gene pool
    In wheat, a lack of genetic diversity between breeding lines has been recognized as a significant block to future yield increases. Species belonging to bread wheat's secondary and tertiary gene pools harbour a much greater level of genetic variability, and are an important source of genes to broaden its genetic base. Introgression of novel genes from progenitors and related species has been widely employed to improve the agronomic characteristics of hexaploid wheat, but this approach has been hampered by a lack of markers that can be used to track introduced chromosome segments. Here, we describe the identification of a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms that can be used to genotype hexaploid wheat and to identify and track introgressions from a variety of sources. We have validated these markers using an ultra-high-density Axiom(®) genotyping array to characterize a range of diploid, tetraploid and hexaploid wheat accessions and wheat relatives. To facilitate the use of these, both the markers and the associated sequence and genotype information have been made available through an interactive web site.
      15Scopus© Citations 297
  • Publication
    Taxonomically Restricted Wheat Genes Interact With Small Secreted Fungal Proteins and Enhance Resistance to Septoria Tritici Blotch Disease
    Understanding the nuances of host/pathogen interactions are paramount if we wish to effectively control cereal diseases. In the case of the wheat/Zymoseptoria tritici interaction that leads to Septoria tritici blotch (STB) disease, a 10,000-year-old conflict has led to considerable armaments being developed on both sides which are not reflected in conventional model systems. Taxonomically restricted genes (TRGs) have evolved in wheat to better allow it to cope with stress caused by fungal pathogens, and Z. tritici has evolved specialized effectors which allow it to manipulate its’ host. A microarray focused on the latent phase response of a resistant wheat cultivar (cv. Stigg) and susceptible wheat cultivar (cv. Gallant) to Z. tritici infection was mined for TRGs within the Poaceae. From this analysis, we identified two TRGs that were significantly upregulated in response to Z. tritici infection, Septoria-responsive TRG6 and 7 (TaSRTRG6 and TaSRTRG7). Virus induced silencing of these genes resulted in an increased susceptibility to STB disease in cvs. Gallant and Stigg, and significantly so in the latter (2.5-fold increase in STB disease). In silico and localization studies categorized TaSRTRG6 as a secreted protein and TaSRTRG7 as an intracellular protein. Yeast two-hybrid analysis and biofluorescent complementation studies demonstrated that both TaSRTRG6 and TaSRTRG7 can interact with small proteins secreted by Z. tritici (potential effector candidates). Thus we conclude that TRGs are an important part of the wheat-Z. tritici co-evolution story and potential candidates for modulating STB resistance.
      8Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Wheat Encodes Small, Secreted Proteins That Contribute to Resistance to Septoria Tritici Blotch
    During plant–pathogen interactions, pathogens secrete many rapidly evolving, small secreted proteins (SSPs) that can modify plant defense and permit pathogens to colonize plant tissue. The fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici is the causal agent of Septoria tritici blotch (STB), one of the most important foliar diseases of wheat, globally. Z. tritici is a strictly apoplastic pathogen that can secrete numerous proteins into the apoplast of wheat leaves to promote infection. We sought to determine if, during STB infection, wheat also secretes small proteins into the apoplast to mediate the recognition of pathogen proteins and/or induce defense responses. To explore this, we developed an SSP-discovery pipeline to identify small, secreted proteins from wheat genomic data. Using this pipeline, we identified 6,998 SSPs, representing 2.3% of all proteins encoded by the wheat genome. We then mined a microarray dataset, detailing a resistant and susceptible host response to STB, and identified 141 Z. tritici- responsive SSPs, representing 4.7% of all proteins encoded by Z. tritici – responsive genes. We demonstrate that a subset of these SSPs have a functional signal peptide and can interact with Z. tritici SSPs. Transiently silencing two of these wheat SSPs using virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) shows an increase in susceptibility to STB, confirming their role in defense against Z. tritici.
      15Scopus© Citations 12