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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs

Host Induced Gene Silencing - HIGS (IPO Team)

Host Induced Gene Silencing (HIGS): a promising approach to control fungal pathogens (IPO Team) (collaboration with the University of Giessen, Germany)

An increasing literature reveals that silencing of key pathogen transcripts by plant-expressed RNAi constructs provides protection against important pathogens such as nematodes, fungi or aphids. This phenomenon, described as Host-Induced Gene Silencing (HIGS) has high application potential for the production of healthier and safer food without the need of chemical disease control. On the course of two collaborative projects, we developed the HIGS strategy to confer plant resistance to fungal and oomycete pathogens.

Cytochrome P450 lanosterol C14α-demethylase (CYP51) is an essential enzyme for sterol synthesis in fungi, and is the target for several fungicides used in agriculture. Genes encoding these enzymes in fungi are highly sequence-specific and completely different from related CYP51 genes that are found in plant or human genomes. We generated transgenic Arabidopsis and barley, which express a stacked dsRNA targeting three CYP51 genes from Fusarium graminearum encoding this enzyme, and show that the host-expressed dsRNA downregulates the expression of the pathogen genes thus generating strong fusariosis resistance of the transgenic lines. 

Repression of fungal CYP51A and CYP51B gene expression in Fusarium-inoculated barley expressing the dsRNA (top graphics) leads to strongly enhanced fusariosis resistance of the transgenic lines (L). Wt = Wild type barley; ev= Empty vector transformation control line.

Repression of fungal CYP51A and CYP51B gene expression in Fusarium-inoculated barley expressing the dsRNA (top graphics) leads to strongly enhanced fusariosis resistance of the transgenic lines (L). Wt = Wild type barley; ev= Empty vector transformation control line.

  • Koch, A., Kumar, N., Weber, L., Keller, H., Imani, J., Kogel, K-H. (2013). Host-induced gene silencing of cytochrome P450 lanosterol C14α-demethylase-encoding genes confers strong resistance to Fusarium species. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110: 19324-19329.