A newly identified cluster of glutathione S‐transferase genes provides Verticillium wilt resistance in cotton
As the largest cultivated fiber crop in the world, cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is often exposed to various biotic stresses during its growth periods. Verticillium wilt caused by Verticillium dahliae is a severe disease in cotton, and the molecular mechanism of cotton resistance for Verticillium wilt needs to be further investigated. Here, we revealed that the cotton genome contains nine types of GST genes. An evolutionary analysis showed that a newly identified cluster (including Gh_A09G1508, Gh_A09G1509 and Gh_A09G1510) located on chromosome 09 of the A‐subgenome was under positive selection pressure during the formation of an allotetraploid. Transcriptome analysis showed that this cluster participates in Verticillium wilt resistance. Because the Gh_A09G1509 gene showed the greatest differential expression in the resistant cultivar under V. dahliae stress, we overexpressed this gene in tobacco and found that its overexpression resulted in enhanced Verticillium wilt resistance. Suppression of the gene cluster via virus‐induced gene silencing made cotton plants of the resistant cultivar Nongda601 significantly susceptible. These results demonstrated that the GST cluster played an important role in Verticillium wilt resistance. Further investigation showed that the encoded enzymes of the cluster were essential for the delicate equilibrium between the production and scavenging of H2O2 during V. dahliae stress.
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