Transient expression of members of the germin-like gene family in epidermal cells of wheat confers disease resistance

Plant J. 1999 Dec;20(5):541-52. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00624.x.


The wheat genome encodes a family of germin-like proteins that differ with respect to regulation and tissue specificity of expression of the corresponding genes. While germin exhibits oxalate oxidase (E.C. activity, the germin-like proteins (GLPs) have no known enzymatic activity. A role of oxalate oxidase in plant defence has been proposed, based on the capacity of the enzyme to produce H2O2, a reactive oxygen species. The role in defence of germin and other members of the germin-like gene family was functionally assessed in a transient assay system based on particle bombardment of wheat leaves. Transient expression of the pathogen-induced germin gf-2.8 gene, but not of the constitutively expressed HvGLP1 gene, reduced the penetration efficiency of Blumeria (syn. Erysiphe) graminis f.sp. tritici, the causal agent of wheat powdery mildew, on transformed cells. Two engineered germin-gf-2.8 genes and the TaGLP2a gene, which all encoded proteins without oxalate oxidase activity, also reduced the penetration efficiency of the fungus, demonstrating that oxalate oxidase activity is not required for conferring enhanced resistance. Instead, activity tagging experiments showed that in cells transiently expressing the germin gf-2.8 gene, the transgene product became insolubilized at sites of attempted fungal penetration where localised production of H2O2 was observed. Thus, germin and GLPs may play a structural role in cell-wall re-enforcement during pathogen attack.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Engineering
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Triticum / cytology
  • Triticum / genetics
  • Triticum / physiology*


  • DNA Primers
  • Glycoproteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • germin
  • Oxidoreductases
  • oxalate oxidase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ237942
  • GENBANK/AJ237943