Feeling the Heat: Investigating the dual assault of Zymoseptoria tritici and Heat Stress on Wheat (Triticum aestivum)

Conference poster

Blyth, H. R., Zarsav, A., Smith, D., Kanyuka, K., Hassall, K. L., Michaelson, L. V., Rudd, J. J. and Haslam, R. P. 2024. Feeling the Heat: Investigating the dual assault of Zymoseptoria tritici and Heat Stress on Wheat (Triticum aestivum) . 32nd Fungal Genetics Conference. Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA 12 Mar 2024

AuthorsBlyth, H. R., Zarsav, A., Smith, D., Kanyuka, K., Hassall, K. L., Michaelson, L. V., Rudd, J. J. and Haslam, R. P.
TypeConference poster
Abstract

As a result of climate change, field conditions are increasingly challenging for crops. Research has shown how elevated temperatures affect crop performance, yet the impact of temperature on host-pathogen relationships remains unknown. Understanding the effects of combined abiotic and biotic stresses on crop plants and the plant-microbial interaction is crucial in developing strategies to improve crop stress tolerance and manage diseases effectively. Lipids sense, signal, and mitigate temperature elevation effects, and lipid remodelling plays a key role in the plant and fungal response to heat stress. Our study uses a systems approach to examine the Z. tritici wheat model system, combining transcriptomics, lipidomics, and phenotyping to decipher the impact of high-temperature stress on the plant-pathogen interaction.
Microscopy in vivo and RNA-Seq analyses confirmed that Z. tritici responds to high-temperature treatments with morphological and transcriptomic changes. Temperature-related configuration of the transcriptome was associated with the accessory chromosomes and expression of ‘accessory’ pan-genome-derived genes. Metabolism-related gene expression predominated, indicated by GO enrichment and analysis of KOG classes, and large-scale lipid remodelling was likely given the proportion of lipid transport and metabolism-related expression changes in response to temperature. Changes in lipid content and composition were then validated by LC-MS analysis. Heat-responsive fungal genes and pathways, including scramblase family genes, are being tested by reverse genetics to ascertain their importance for fungal adaption to elevated temperatures.
Elevated temperature schemes were applied to wheat to study the impact of combined stress on the plant-pathogen interaction, based on long-term climate data from Rothamsted Research, using transcriptomic, lipidomic and phenotypic analyses. Comparing non-infected and infected wheat plants under typical and elevated temperatures. Our initial analysis of the transcriptomic data indicates a delay in the development of Z. tritici, followed by its adaptation to the warmer environment. Once the infection was established, the fungus exhibited resilience to the impact of higher external temperatures. Our results indicate that temperature elevations associated with climate change directly impact plant-pathogen interactions. Furthermore, the study demonstrates a need for further detailed understanding to sustain crop resilience.

Year of Publication2024
Conference title32nd Fungal Genetics Conference
Conference locationAsilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA
Event date12 Mar 2024
17 Mar 2024
Open accessPublished as bronze (free) open access
Web address (URL) of conference proceedingshttps://genetics-gsa.org/fungal-2024/
Funder project or codeResilient Farming Futures (WP1): Understanding impacts of single and compound climate policy and biotic stresses on agroecosystem ‘resilience’
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
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Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print12 Mar 2024

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