Proteomic analysis of the maize rachis: Potential roles of constitutive and induced proteins in resistance to Aspergillus flavus infection and aflatoxin accumulation

Authors

  • Olga Pechanova,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA
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  • Tibor Pechan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA
    • Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA Fax: +1-662-325-9264
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  • W. Paul Williams,

    1. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Corn Host Plant Resistance Research Unit, Mississippi State, MS, USA
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  • Dawn S. Luthe

    1. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
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Abstract

Infection of the maize (Zea mays L.) with aflatoxigenic fungus Aspergillus flavus and consequent contamination with carcinogenic aflatoxin is a persistent and serious agricultural problem causing disease and significant crop losses worldwide. The rachis (cob) is an important structure of maize ear that delivers essential nutrients to the developing kernels and A. flavus spreads through the rachis to infect kernels within the ear. Therefore, rachis plays an important role in fungal proliferation and subsequent kernel contamination. We used proteomic approaches and investigated the rachis tissue from aflatoxin accumulation resistant (Mp313E and Mp420) and susceptible (B73 and SC212m) maize inbred lines. First, we compared rachis proteins from resistant and susceptible inbred lines, which revealed that the young resistant rachis contains higher levels of abiotic stress-related proteins and proteins from phenylpropanoid metabolism, whereas susceptible young rachis contains pathogenesis-related proteins, which are generally inducible upon biotic stress. Second, we identified A. flavus-responsive proteins in rachis of both resistant and susceptible genotypes after 10- and 35-day infection. Differential expression of many stress/defense proteins during rachis juvenility, maturation and after A. flavus challenge demonstrates that resistant rachis relies on constitutive defenses, while susceptible rachis is more dependent on inducible defenses.

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