To achieve a thorough understanding of plant-aphid interactions, it is necessary to investigate in detail both the plant and insect side of the interaction. The pea aphid (PA; Acyrthosiphon pisum) has been selected by an international consortium as the model species for genetics and genomics studies, and the model legume Medicago truncatula is a host of this aphid. In this study, we identified resistance to PA in a M. truncatula line, 'Jester', with well-characterized resistance to a closely related aphid, the bluegreen aphid (BGA; Acyrthosiphon kondoi). The biology of resistance to the two aphid species shared similarity, with resistance in both cases occurring at the level of the phloem, requiring an intact plant and involving a combination of antixenosis, antibiosis, and plant tolerance. In addition, PA resistance cosegregated in 'Jester' with a single dominant gene for BGA resistance. These results raised the possibility that both resistances may be mediated by the same mechanism. This was not supported by the results of gene induction studies, and resistance induced by BGA had no effect on PA feeding. Moreover, different genetic backgrounds containing a BGA resistance gene from the same resistance donor differ in resistance to PA. These results suggest that distinct mechanisms are involved in resistance to these two aphid species. Resistance to PA and BGA in the same genetic background in M. truncatula makes this plant an attractive model for the study of both plant and aphid components of resistant and susceptible plant-aphid interactions.
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