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Overexpression of TaSTT3b-2B improves resistance to sharp eyespot and increases grain weight in wheat

Xiuliang Zhu1,* , Wei Rong1, Kai Wang1, Wei Guo2, Miaoping Zhou2, Jizhong Wu2, Xingguo Ye1 , Xuening Wei1 and Zengyan Zhang1,*

Plant Biotechnology Journal (2022) 20, pp. 777–793

doi: 10.1111/pbi.13760


STAUROSPORINE AND TEMPERATURE SENSITIVE3 (STT3) is a catalytic subunit of oligosaccharyltransferase, which is important for asparagine-linked glycosylation. Sharp eyespot, caused by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia cerealis, is a devastating disease of bread wheat. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying wheat defense against R. cerealis are still largely unclear. In this study, we identified TaSTT3a and TaSTT3b, two STT3 subunit genes from wheat and reported their functional roles in wheat defense against R. cerealis and increasing grain weight. The Transcript abundance of TaSTT3b-2B was associated with the degree of wheat resistance to R. cerealis and induced by both R. cerealis and exogenous jasmonic acid (JA). Overexpression of TaSTT3b-2B significantly enhanced resistance to R. cerealis, grain weight, and JA content in transgenic wheat subjected to R. cerealis stress, while silencing of TaSTT3b-2B compromised resistance of wheat to R. cerealis. Transcriptomic analysis showed that TaSTT3b-2B affected the expression of a series of defense-related genes and JA biosynthesis–related genes, as well as genes coding starch synthase and sucrose synthase. Application of exogenous JA elevated expression levels of the abovementioned defense- and grain weight–related genes, and rescuing the resistance of TaSTT3b-2B–silenced wheat to R. cerealis, while pretreatment with sodium diethyldithiocarbamate, an inhibitor of JA synthesis, attenuated the TaSTT3b-2B–mediated resistance to R. cerealis, suggesting that TaSTT3b-2B played critical roles in regulating R. cerealis resistance and grain weight via JA biosynthesis. Altogether, this study reveals new functional roles of TaSTT3b-2B in regulating plant innate immunity and grain weight, and illustrates its potential application value for wheat molecular breeding.