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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Publication details for Prof Keith Lindsey

Gao, W., Long, L., Xu, L., Lindsey, K., Zhang, X. & Zhu, L. (2016). Suppression of the homeobox gene HDTF1 enhances resistance to Verticillium dahliae and Botrytis cinerea in cotton. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 58(5): 503-513.

Author(s) from Durham


Development of pathogen-resistant crops, such as fungus-resistant cotton, has significantly reduced chemical application and improved crop yield and quality. However, the mechanism of resistance to cotton pathogens such as Verticillium dahliae is still poorly understood. In this study, we characterized a cotton gene (HDTF1) that was isolated following transcriptome profiling during the resistance response of cotton to V. dahliae. HDTF1 putatively encodes a homeodomain transcription factor, and its expression was found to be down-regulated in cotton upon inoculation with V. dahliae and Botrytis cinerea. To characterise the involvement of HDTF1 in the response to these pathogens, we used virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to generate HDTF1-silenced cotton. VIGS reduction in HDTF1 expression significantly enhanced cotton plant resistance to both pathogens. HDTF1 silencing resulted in activation of jasmonic acid (JA)-mediated signaling and JA accumulation. However, the silenced plants were not altered in the accumulation of salicylic acid (SA) or the expression of marker genes associated with SA signaling. These results suggest that HDTF1 is a negative regulator of the JA pathway, and resistance to V. dahliae and B. cinerea can be engineered by activation of JA signaling.