Genetically engineered stem rust resistance in barley using the Rpg1 gene

Henriette Horvath, Nils Rostoks, Robert Brueggeman, Brian Steffenson, Diter Von Wettstein, Andris Kleinhofs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The stem-rust-susceptible barley cv. Golden Promise was transformed by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of immature zygotic embryos with the Rpg1 genomic clone of cv. Morex containing a 520-bp 5′ promoter region, 4,919-bp gene region, and 547-bp 3′ nontranscribed sequence. Representatives of 42 transgenic barley lines obtained were characterized for their seedling infection response to pathotype Pgt-MCC of the stem rust fungus Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici. Golden Promise was converted from a highly susceptible cultivar into a highly resistant one by transformation with the dominant Rpg1 gene. A single copy of the gene was sufficient to confer resistance against stem rust, and progenies from several transformants segregated in a 3:1 ratio for resistance/susceptibility as expected for Mendelian inheritance. These results unequivocally demonstrate that the DNA segment isolated by map-based cloning is the functional Rpg1 gene for stem rust, resistance. One of the remarkable aspects about the transformants is that they exhibit a higher level of resistance than the original sources of Rpg1 (cvs. Chevron and Peatland). In most cases, the Golden Promise transformants exhibited a highly resistant reaction where no visible sign of infection was evident. Hypersensitive necrotic "fleck" reactions were also observed, but less frequently. With both infection types, pathogen sporulation was prevented. Southern blot and RT-PCR analysis revealed that neither Rpg1 gene copy number nor expression levels could account for the increased resistance observed in Golden Promise transformants. Nevertheless, this research demonstrates that stem-rust-susceptible barley can be made resistant by transformation with the cloned Rpg1 gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-369
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 2003


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