Developing broad-spectrum resistance is one of the main objectives of crop
breeding but more investigation is needed to reveal the molecular mechanisms
involved in this process. ACCELERATED CELL DEATH6 (ACD6) in Arabidopsis
thaliana is a key component of broad-spectrum resistance. However, the role
of ACD6 remains unclear in crop plants. Thus, Agricultural University of
Hebei scientists and partners studied one of the ACD6-like genes (ZmACD6) in
maize using the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
CRISPR-Cas9-generated maize mutants with knocked out ZmACD6 showed higher
susceptibility to corn smut compared to wild-type plants. They also
identified a maize line (SC-9) which exhibited higher levels of ZmACD6
expression, better resistance to corn smut and defense activation.
Based on the findings, overexpression of ACD6-like genes could be a
practical approach to develop better crop varieties with improved disease