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Doctoral thesis2015Open access

Molecular responses against Heterobasidion annosum s.l. in Picea abies

Nemesio gorriz, Miguel


Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] is a main tree species in European forests and is important both ecologically and economically. The root rot fungus Heterobasidion annosum sensu lato (s.l.) is the main P. abies pathogen. Including resistance in breeding programs would help mitigating the impact of the pathogen but knowledge regarding defense mechanisms in P. abies needs a better understanding. The work within this thesis intended to expand the existing knowledge on P. abies resistance mechanisms focusing on hormone signaling, flavonoid biosynthesis and its transcriptional regulation. I found that jasmonic acid is the major hormone controlling defense signaling pathways in P. abies. Furthermore, we validated a candidate gene, PaLAR3, as a resistance marker for H. annosum s.l. in P. abies. PaLAR3 encodes an enzyme responsible for the synthesis of (+) catechin, which showed a fungistatic effect on H. parviporum. Analysis of genetic diversity revealed two allelic lineages of PaLAR3 that showed significant differences in fungal resistance and (+) catechin content that were explained by dissimilarities in inducibility. We studied the role of PaNAC03, a transcription factor that is associated with H. annosum s.l. infection. PaNAC03 not only showed repression of multiple genes including PaLAR3, but bound only to the promoter of one of the PaLAR3 allelic lineages explaining at least partly the differences in allelic expression that were observed. Finally, we identified a full repertoire of members of a MYB/bHLH/WDR transcription factor complex in Norway spruce, which showed differences in protein interactions and expression patterns, and also in ability to control the expression of genes in the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway including PaLAR3.


Picea abies; Norway spruce; Heterobasidion; defense; phytohormones; flavonoid; catechin; LAR; MYB; NAC; promoter

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2015, number: 2015:114ISBN: 978-91-576-8426-4, eISBN: 978-91-576-8427-1
Publisher: Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Plant Biotechnology
    Genetics and Breeding

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