Is photosynthetic transcriptional regulation in Triticum aestivum L. cv. 'TugelaDN' a contributing factor for tolerance to Diuraphis noxia (Homoptera: Aphididae)?

Anna Maria Botha, Lynelle Lacock, Chantal Van Niekerk, M. Thuto Matsioloko, Franco B. Du Preez, Shilo Loots, Eduard Venter, Karl J. Kunert, Christopher A. Cullis

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65 Citations (Scopus)


Diuraphis noxia (Russian wheat aphid, RWA) is a major pest on wheat in South Africa and most other wheat growing countries. Being a probing-sucking insect, RWAs insert their stylets into the phloem sieve elements and feed on the phloem sap. This feeding causes necrotic lesions in resistant varieties, or decoloration of leaves and death in susceptible varieties. In an effort to broaden our understanding on the response of the plant to RWA feeding, we synthesized and analyzed expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries. These libraries were constructed using near isogenic wheat lines susceptible 'Tugela' and resistant 'TugelaDN' (Dn1) to RWA, as well as accession lines PI137739 (Dn1) and PI294994 (Dn5). Analysis of 200 ESTs from the libraries revealed the involvement of transcripts encoding genes involved in cell maintenance, growth and regulation, plant defense and signaling, photosynthesis and energy production, and of unknown function. A selection of these ESTs, in combination with clones obtained from other sources, were used on a custom array to study the expression profiles of 256 candidate wheat sequences putatively involved in plant defense against RWA. The selected sequences included wheat genomic clones with putative nucleotide binding site (NBS) motifs, rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR (RACE-PCR), and cDNA clones from RWA induced libraries. Genomic banana and flax clones that were obtained using representative difference analysis (RDA), and suspected to be involved in abiotic stress responses, were also spotted onto the microarray slides. The spotted custom arrays were then hybridized against cDNA isolated from a resistant cultivar 'Tugela DN' on 0, 2, 5, and 8 days after infestation, post-labeled with Cy3- or Cy5-fluorescent dyes. The subsequent expression profiling using DNA microarray, RT-PCR, and Northern Blot analysis identified 29 transcripts associated with the feeding response. These transcripts encoded proteins functioning in direct defense and signaling, oxidative burst, cell wall degradation, cell maintenance, photosynthesis, and energy production. Results indicate that plants co-ordinately regulate gene expression when attacked by RWA. It is hypothesized that the NBS-LRR proteins are important in receptor recognition and signaling, which enable the plant to overcome the stresses inflicted by RWA feeding. It is further suggested that the ability to maintain photosynthetic function with resultant energy production is one of the determining factors ensuring the survival of the resistant varieties when coping with the RWA feeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-54
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Chloroplast ATP synthase
  • Diuraphis noxia
  • Microarray
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant-insect interaction
  • RGA-2
  • SSH
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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