Rice blast disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae is the most devastating disease of rice. Previous studies have identified a terpene synthase gene, OsTPS19, as a candidate defense gene. The team of Xujun Chen from China Agricultural University studied OsTPS19, which was found to be upregulated by M. oryzae infection.

 

The team found that overexpression of the OsTPS19 gene in rice plants enhanced the plants' resistance against rice blast. On the other hand, OsTPS19 RNAi-silenced lines were found more susceptible to the disease. Further analysis also revealed that the production of a monoterpene (S)-limonene was increased in OsTPS19-overexpressing lines while it decreased in RNAi lines.

 

This indicates that OsTPS19 functions as an (S)-limonene synthase in rice and plays a partial role in defense against M. oryzae.

 

For more information, read the article in Plant Biotechnology Journal.