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Durham e-Theses
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Investigating transcription factors in wheat defence against Zymoseptoria tritici fungus.

MILLYARD, LINDA (2019) Investigating transcription factors in wheat defence against Zymoseptoria tritici fungus. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Zymoseptoria tritici (Septoria) is a devastating fungal pathogen of wheat, causing yield losses of up to 50%. It is classed as a major pathogen threat within the EU. Finding new resistance breeding targets is of upmost importance due to Septoria’s ability to evolve resistance quickly.

During this project I used Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) to study WRKY transcription factors. I identified two that, when silenced, caused a change in Septoria’s infection phenotype, TaWRKY19 and TaWRKY9. TaWRKY19 is a resistance factor whereas TaWRKY9 is a susceptibility factor.

To further study the defence network I performed a Yeast 1 Hybrid (Y1H) experiment to identify TFs that bound to TaWRKY19’s and TaWRKY9’s promoter. Through this screen I found multiple potential binders. I focussed on one, TabZIP2, which bound to TaWRKY19’s promoter. Further silencing and infection experiment revealed TabZIP2 to be a susceptibility factor. qRT-PCR experiments were used to study the relationship between TaWRKY19 and TabZIP2, these showed that TabZIP2 appears to be a negative regulator of TaWRKY19 expression.

Results from this thesis offer three potential breeding targets for Septoria resistant wheat, with further TFs also identified for further experimentation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Mar 2019 10:29

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