Proteomic insights into the mechanisms of deoxynivalenol resistance in Triticum aestivum
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a globally relevant cereal crop disease resulting from infection with fungal pathogens, including Fusarium spp., with Fusarium graminearum being the primary causative agent. A distinctive and devastating factor of this disease is the production of deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin, which inhibits eukaryotic protein synthesis to weaken and kill cells in infected host tissues, threatening food safety for humans and livestock. In this thesis, I investigated the regulation of host response to infection with the known virulence factor of FHB, deoxynivalenol. My findings elucidated our understanding of distinct DON detoxification responses corresponding to these parameters: 24 vs. 120 h post-inoculation, low [0.1 mg/mL] and high [1.0 mg/mL] DON, FHB-resistant vs. -susceptible cultivars through the production of proteins known to detoxify DON and with hypothesized DON-detoxifying capabilities (e.g., glutathione transferases and glycosyltransferases). Next, I developed an in vitro assay for the quantification of DON-degrading capabilities for these prioritized candidate proteins. Continuing to develop our understanding of the biochemical methods used to mitigate the effects of DON in planta is a useful approach to identifying biomarkers for selective breeding of mycotoxin-resistant cultivars in the future.