Overexpression of phytoglobin in barley alters both compatible and incompatible interactions with the mildew pathogen Blumeria graminis

Chris Khadgi Sørensen, Massimiliano Carciofi, Harald Hasler-Sheetal, Somaieh Zafari, Olga Agata Andrzejczak, Mogens Støvring Hovmøller, Ian Max Møller, Kim Hebelstrup

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This study showed how barley plants can be shifted in their response to isolates of the mildew pathogen Blumeria graminis with different host adaptation by overexpression of the barley phytoglobin gene HvHb1. At early infection stages, plants overexpressing phytoglobin (GPHb1) showed less papilla formation and more hypersensitive response against both virulent and avirulent pathogen isolates compared to the wildtype (WT) plants. The shift was most pronounced in a wheat-adapted isolate (B. graminis f. sp. tritici). At later infection stages, GPHb1 plants infected with a virulent pathogen isolate (A6) showed less leaf chlorosis compared to the WT plants, indicating delayed senescence. The chlorophyll level was significantly higher in A6-infected GPHb1 plants 9 days after inoculation (dai) and the senescence indicators sphingosine-1-phosphate:ceramide ratio and phytol content confirmed delayed senescence. At 14 dai the percentage of fungal DNA was significantly higher on the GPHb1 plants than on WT plants, probably as a result of the delayed senescence. The results show that overexpression of phytoglobin (previously known as plant haemoglobin) can be an important tool to understand disease-related stress effects in plants of agronomic importance and for understanding basic resistance mechanisms. Studying this process in more detail may provide insights into how to alleviate stress-related senescence in plants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Pathology
Pages (from-to)152-162
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Blumeria graminis
  • barley
  • papilla
  • phytoglobin
  • plant defence
  • powdery mildew


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