Transcriptome analysis of the barley-deoxynivalenol interaction: Evidence for a role of glutathione in deoxynivalenol detoxification

Stephanie A. Gardiner, Jayanand Boddu, Eranz Berthiller, Christian Hametner, Robert M. Stupar, Gerhard Adam, Gary J. Muehlbauer

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143 Scopus citations


Trichothecenes are a major group of toxins produced by phytopathogenic fungi, including Fusarium graminearum. Trichothecenes inhibit protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells and are toxicologically relevant mycotoxins for humans and animals. Because they promote plant disease, the role of host responses to trichothecene accumulation is considered to be an important aspect of plant defense and resistance to fungal infection. Our overall objective was to examine the barley response to application of the type B trichothecene deoxynivalenol (DON). We found that DON is diluted by movement from the application site to acropetal and basipetal florets. A susceptible barley genotype converted DON to DON-3-O-glucoside, indicating that UDP-glucosyltransferases capable of detoxifying DON must exist in barley. RNA profiling of DON-treated barley spikes revealed strong upregulation of gene transcripts encoding ABC transporters, UDP-glucosyltransferases, cytochrome P450s, and glutathione-S-transferases. We noted that transcripts encoding cysteine synthases were dramatically induced by DON, and that toxin-sensitive yeast on glutathione- or cysteine-supplemented media or carrying a gene that encodes a cysteine biosynthetic enzyme exhibit DON resistance, suggesting that preventing glutathione depletion by increasing cysteine supply could play a role in ameliorating the impact of DON. Evidence for nonenzymatic formation of DON-glutathione adducts in vitro was found using both liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis, indicating that the formation of DON-glutathione conjugates in vivo may reduce the impact of trichothecenes. Our results indicate that barley exhibits multiple defense mechanisms against trichothecenes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-976
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


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