Abstract

The impact of climate change has been identified as an emerging issue for food security and safety, and the increased incidence of mycotoxin contamination in maize over the last two decades is considered a potential emerging hazard. Disease control by chemical and agronomic approaches is often ineffective and increases the cost of production; for this reason the exploitation of genetic resistance is the most sustainable method for reducing contamination. The review focuses on the significant advances that have been made in the development of transcriptomic, genetic and genomic information for maize, Fusarium verticillioides molds, and their interactions, over recent years. Findings from transcriptomic studies have been used to outline a specific model for the intracellular signaling cascade occurring in maize cells against F. verticillioides infection. Several recognition receptors, such as receptor-like kinases and R genes, are involved in pathogen perception, and trigger down-stream signaling networks mediated by mitogen-associated protein kinases. These signals could be orchestrated primarily by hormones, including salicylic acid, auxin, abscisic acid, ethylene, and jasmonic acid, in association with calcium signaling, targeting multiple transcription factors that in turn promote the down-stream activation of defensive response genes, such as those related to detoxification processes, phenylpropanoid, and oxylipin metabolic pathways. At the genetic and genomic levels, several quantitative trait loci (QTL) and single-nucleotide polymorphism markers for resistance to Fusarium ear rot deriving from QTL mapping and genome-wide association studies are described, indicating the complexity of this polygenic trait. All these findings will contribute to identifying candidate genes for resistance and to applying genomic technologies for selecting resistant maize genotypes and speeding up a strategy of breeding to contrast disease, through plants resistant to mycotoxin-producing pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Fumonisins
  • Fusarium ear rot
  • Genetic resistance
  • Zea mays

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