<li>Characterize the role of maize kernel proteins and corresponding genes in resistance to aflatoxin contamination and aflatoxin-producing fungi.</li>
<li>Identify and characterize resistance-associated proteins/genes in soybean that may enhance our understanding of aflatoxin-resistance and that may be exploited through enhancement of homologous genes in maize.</li>
<li>Determine the most useful maize resistance markers for breeders to use in transferring resistance to commercially useful germplasm.</li>
APPROACH: Characterize resistance-associated proteins (RAP's), e.g., antifungal, stress responsive, or interfering with toxin signaling pathways, in developing and mature maize kernels identified at SRRC through proteomic comparisons of resistant and susceptible maize inbreds, some with very similar genetic backgrounds. Identify, using proteome analyses, resistance-associated proteins/genes in soybean with efficacy against A. flavus and aflatoxin production. Soybean is an aflatoxin-resistant species, therefore, the possibility exists that resistance factors may be identified that could be exploited through enhancement of homologous genes in maize. Characterize function of maize and soybean proteins/genes through molecular and physiological laboratory and greenhouse investigations. Determine role of proteins/genes in aflatoxin-resistance using RNAi gene silencing technology.