Wheat receptor-kinase-like protein Stb6 controls gene-for-gene resistance to fungal pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici

In this collaborative study between DFW researchers at RRes and JIC, and those from INRA in France the first wheat gene conferring resistance to a devastating foliar disease of wheat known as Septoria tritici blotch (STB) has been isolated. Most resistance genes in wheat, other monocots and also dicots code for protein NB-LRR receptors located inside cells, whereas Stb6 codes for a cell wall associated receptor kinase-like (WAK) protein. Isolation of Stb6 is therefore a major breakthrough that will allow deeper understanding of disease resistance mechanisms operating in wheat against this important pathogen and better understanding of the WAK gene family represented by 601 members in wheat. This knowledge will facilitate identification and isolation of additional resistance genes for improved control of STB and, in the long term, it should also help us to develop new, better control strategies for this and perhaps also other important fungal diseases.