Background: Fusarium head blight (FHB), a devastating disease in wheat worldwide, results in yield loses and mycotoxin, such as deoxynivalenol (DON), accumulation in infected grains. DON also facilitates the pathogen colonization and spread of FHB symptoms during disease development. UDP-glycosyltransferase enzymes (UGTs) are known to contribute to detoxification and enhance FHB resistance by glycosylating DON into DON-3-glucoside (D3G) in wheat. However, a comprehensive investigation of wheat (Triticum aestivum) UGT genes is still lacking.
Results: In this study, we carried out a genome-wide analysis of family-1 UDP glycosyltransferases in wheat based on the PSPG conserved box that resulted in the identification of 179 putative UGT genes. The identified genes were clustered into 16 major phylogenetic groups with a lack of phylogenetic group K. The UGT genes were invariably distributed among all the chromosomes of the 3 genomes. At least 10 intron insertion events were found in the UGT sequences, where intron 4 was observed as the most conserved intron. The expression analysis of the wheat UGT genes using both online microarray data and quantitative real-time PCR verification suggested the distinct role of UGT genes in different tissues and developmental stages. The expression of many UGT genes was up-regulated after Fusarium graminearum inoculation, and six of the genes were further verified by RT-qPCR.
Conclusion: We identified 179 UGT genes from wheat using the available sequenced wheat genome. This study provides useful insight into the phylogenetic structure, distribution, and expression patterns of family-1 UDP glycosyltransferases in wheat. The results also offer a foundation for future work aimed at elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the resistance to FHB and DON accumulation.
Keywords: Deoxynivalenol; Expression pattern; Fusarium head blight; Phylogeny; UDP-glycosyltransferase; Wheat.