A change in temperature modulates defence to yellow (stripe) rust in wheat line UC1041 independently of resistance gene Yr36

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Rust diseases are of major importance in wheat production worldwide. With the constant evolution of new rust strains and their adaptation to higher temperatures, consistent and durable disease resistance is a key challenge. Environmental conditions affect resistance gene performance, but the basis for this is poorly understood. Here we show that a change in day temperature affects wheat resistance to Puccinia striiformis f. sp tritici (Pst), the causal agent of yellow (or stripe) rust. Using adult plants of near-isogenic lines UC1041 +/- Yr36, there was no significant difference between Pst percentage uredia coverage in plants grown at day temperatures of 18°C or 25°C in adult UC1041 + Yr36 plants. However, when plants were transferred to the lower day temperature at the time of Pst inoculation, infection increased up to two fold. Interestingly, this response was independent of Yr36, which has previously been reported as a temperature-responsive resistance gene as Pst development in adult UC1041 -Yr36 plants was similarly affected by the plants experiencing a temperature reduction. In addition, UC1041 -Yr36 plants grown at the lower temperature then transferred to the higher temperature were effectively resistant and a temperature change in either direction was shown to affect Pst development up to 8 days prior to inoculation. Results for seedlings were similar, but more variable compared to adult plants. Enhanced resistance to Pst was observed in seedlings of UC1041 and the cultivar Shamrock when transferred to the higher temperature. Resistance was not affected in seedlings of cultivar Solstice by a temperature change in either direction.