Roles of Chickpea Protein (PGIP) in Defense Against Pathogenic Fungi
Primary Author: Vishnutej Ellur
Faculty Sponsor: Weidong Chen
Primary College/Unit: Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
Category: Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
Plant diseases and pests continue to cause as much as 40% losses during production, storage, and transport of staple crops affecting food security worldwide. Ensuring food security in an environmentally sustainable way is imperative. Over the years, the mainstay of disease management strategies came to rely on the use of pesticides. However, pesticide usage can be detrimental to the environment and continuous use resulted in targeted pathogens developing resistance. Therefore the use of disease-resistant varieties is the most effective and environmentally sustainable approach and it requires plant genes that can produce proteins with pathogen inhibiting properties.
Pathogenic fungi produce several tissue macerating enzymes to penetrate plant tissue and polygalacturonase (PG) being very significant among them. To counteract PGs, plants produce inhibitory proteins called polygalacturonase inhibiting proteins (PGIP). The purpose of this study is to understand the pathogen inhibiting potential of PGIP in chickpea (CaPGIP1). Studying homology, location and expression of any protein is important in understating its role and function. Using a technique called homology modeling we observed that CaPGIP1 contains domains crucial in interacting with pathogen enzymes. Further, its location was investigated using the subcellular localization method and found the protein to be located in the cell wall, a critical defense location of plant proteins. An increased expression of the CaPGIP1 gene was observed when infected with Ascochyta rabiei fungus, using a relative expression technique. These results indicate that chickpea PGIP has a potential role to combat pathogens, our further research will help to gain a better understanding.