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|Title:||Molecular factors determining Thielaviopsis basicola-cotton interactions leading to Black Root Rot disease|
|Publisher:||Cotton Catchment Communities CRC|
|Abstract:||Black root rot, caused by Thielaviopsis basicola, is a significant disease threat to cotton, especially in cooler areas and seasons. In just over a decade it has come to affect more than half of the cotton farms in southern Queensland and New South Wales and it is currently found to be present in every surveyed farm. While management strategies based on cultural practices can reduce the severity of the disease and of crop losses, yield can still drop by up to 40% annually and further loss can occur due to increased susceptibility of black root rotinfected plants to other diseases. Thus, there is considerable scope for new disease controlmethods based on an improved knowledge of the biology of the pathogen and its interactions with cotton. The black root rot fungus occurs as strains that are specific to particular host plants, and must establish a special relationship with living cells of the host root before root rotting can occur. This suggests that there are highly specific biochemical and genetic interactions between the fungus and cotton that are involved in the infection progress. The longer term aim of our multidisciplinary group of researchers is to identify key factors in the molecular interactions between T. basicola and cotton roots, to determine whether such interactions could be exploited in disease management. Identification of host-specific interactions during infection could be used to find components of resistance that will increase the efficiency of breeding varieties with enhanced resistance.In the seed project completed in June 2007, our group developed methods for investigating the interactions between the fungal pathogen and its cotton host, as well as tools for genetic manipulation of the pathogen and for proteome analyses of both the pathogen and cotton roots. The main outcomes in technique developments were (1) the establishment of a genetic transformation protocol for the production of a large number of fungal mutants and the establishment of a procedure to select those mutants affected only in their pathogenicity towards cotton, (2) the establishment of extraction protocols for the purification of both T. basicola and cotton root proteins, (3) the development of a method to produce two dimensional protein electrophoresis maps for both T. basicola and cotton roots, which resulted in successful production of reference protein maps for both the fungus and cotton roots and (4) the development and optimisation of reliable systems for the study of T. basicola interactions with different host plants, which allowed the comparison of the interactions of cotton with pathogenic versus non-pathogenic strains of T. basicola.The techniques developed in the seed project will be adopted in current and future research with the aim of identifying factors responsible for changes in pathogenicity, especially those involved in host-specific interactions. In addition, the protein maps (total cell proteins, also called proteome) will be used in order to identify proteins (and thus, genes) involved in the infection process and to find if the disease could be blocked by reducing plant stimulants that enhance the pathogen, or by inducing plant resistance to the disease. The long term objectives of this project were to find out whether there are host-specific triggers to certain stages of the pathogen infection and whether it is feasible to exploit key steps in the infection process for the development of resistance or other control measures, such as soil amendments.The development of tools in this seed project allow research into the T. basicola-cotton interactions, which could lead to discoveries towards ways of controlling the disease and thus increasing cotton yields, by either breeding cotton towards disease resistance or by producing more effective soil amendments against T. basicola.|
|Appears in Collections:||Cotton CRC Final Reports|
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