The role of suberin biopolymers for pathogen resistance
Elvio Henrique Benatto Perino, Sabine Rosahl
Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Halle
Late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora rnfesfans, is a devastating disease of potato (Solanum tuberosum). Without appropriate control measures, potato fields can be destroyed within a couple of weeks. Both cost of yield loss and of control measures are reported to be more than 6 billion dollars annually, making late blight economically the most important foliar disease. P. infestans has a hemibiotrophic lifestyle, requiring living tissue during the first stages of development and inducing cell death during the necrotrophic phase. The formation of necrotic lesions of potato leaves correlates with the deposition of suberin, a lipophilic biopolymer that acts as a transpiration barrier. lt is widely accepted that suberin formation around lesions or wound sites is an important defense response, however, functional data are missing. ln the proposed project, the role of suberin for pathogen defense will be analyzed by generating and characterizing CRISPR-Cas9-edited potato plants defective in suberin formation. ln addition, pathogen-responsive, TAl-effector-mediated expression of a metabolic pathway consisting of three suberin biosynthesis enzymes and a suberin transporter will reveal whether enhanced suberin formation around P. infestans-induced lesions contributes to defense against the pathogen.