The wheat resistance gene Lr34 results in the constitutive induction of multiple defense pathways in transgenic barley

Harsh Chauhan, Rainer Boni, Rahel Bucher, Benjamin Kuhn, Gabriele Buchmann, Justine Sucher, Liselotte L. Selter, Goetz Hensel, Jochen Kumlehn, Laurent Bigler, Gaëtan Glauser, Thomas Wicker, Simon G. Krattinger, Beat Keller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The wheat gene Lr34 encodes an ABCG-type transporter which provides durable resistance against multiple pathogens. Lr34 is functional as a transgene in barley, but its mode of action has remained largely unknown both in wheat and barley. Here we studied gene expression in uninfected barley lines transgenic for Lr34. Genes from multiple defense pathways contributing to basal and inducible disease resistance were constitutively active in seedlings and mature leaves. In addition, the hormones jasmonic acid and salicylic acid were induced to high levels, and increased levels of lignin as well as hordatines were observed. These results demonstrate a strong, constitutive re-programming of metabolism by Lr34. The resistant Lr34 allele (Lr34res) encodes a protein that differs by two amino acid polymorphisms from the susceptible Lr34sus allele. The deletion of a single phenylalanine residue in Lr34sus was sufficient to induce the characteristic Lr34-based responses. Combination of Lr34res and Lr34sus in the same plant resulted in a reduction of Lr34res expression by 8- to 20-fold when the low-expressing Lr34res line BG8 was used as a parent. Crosses with the high-expressing Lr34res line BG9 resulted in an increase of Lr34sus expression by 13- to 16-fold in progenies that inherited both alleles. These results indicate an interaction of the two Lr34 alleles on the transcriptional level. Reduction of Lr34res expression in BG8 crosses reduced the negative pleiotropic effects of Lr34res on barley growth and vigor without compromising disease resistance, suggesting that transgenic combination of Lr34res and Lr34sus can result in agronomically useful resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-215
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Lr34
  • allele mining
  • durable resistance
  • molecular breeding
  • transcriptomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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