Two different R gene loci co-evolved with Avr2 of Phytophthora infestans and confer distinct resistance specificities in potato

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Abstract

Late blight, caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans, is the most devastating disease in potato. For sustainable management of this economically important disease, resistance breeding relies on the availability of resistance (R) genes. Such R genes against P. infestans have evolved in wild tuber-bearing Solanum species from North, Central and South America, upon co-evolution with cognate avirulence (Avr) genes. Here, we report how effectoromics screens with Avr2 of P. infestans revealed defense responses in diverse Solanum species that are native to Mexico and Peru. We found that the response to AVR2 in the Mexican Solanum species is mediated by R genes of the R2 family that resides on a major late blight locus on chromosome IV. In contrast, the response to AVR2 in Peruvian Solanum species is mediated by Rpi-mcq1, which resides on chromosome IX and does not belong to the R2 family. The data indicate that AVR2 recognition has evolved independently on two genetic loci in Mexican and Peruvian Solanum species, respectively. Detached leaf tests on potato cultivar ‘Désirée’ transformed with R genes from either the R2 or the Rpi-mcq1 locus revealed an overlapping, but distinct resistance profile to a panel of 18 diverse P. infestans isolates. The achieved insights in the molecular R – Avr gene interaction can lead to more educated exploitation of R genes and maximize the potential of generating more broad-spectrum, and potentially more durable control of the late blight disease in potato.

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Aguilera-Galvez, C., Champouret, N., Rietman, H., Lin, X., Wouters, D., Chu, Z., … Vleeshouwers, V. G. A. A. (2018). Two different R gene loci co-evolved with Avr2 of Phytophthora infestans and confer distinct resistance specificities in potato. Studies in Mycology, 89, 105–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.simyco.2018.01.002

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