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Two alternative recessive quantitative trait loci influence resistance to spring black stem and leaf spot in Medicago truncatula

Kamphuis, L.G., Lichtenzveig, J., Oliver, R.P. and Ellwood, S.R. (2008) Two alternative recessive quantitative trait loci influence resistance to spring black stem and leaf spot in Medicago truncatula. BMC Plant Biology, 8 (1).

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Knowledge of the genetic basis of plant resistance to necrotrophic pathogens is incomplete and has been characterised in relatively few pathosystems. In this study, the cytology and genetics of resistance to spring black stem and leaf spot caused by Phoma medicaginis, an economically important necrotrophic pathogen of Medicago spp., was examined in the model legume M. truncatula.

Macroscopically, the resistant response of accession SA27063 was characterised by small, hypersensitive-like spots following inoculation while the susceptible interaction with accessions A17 and SA3054 showed necrotic lesions and spreading chlorosis. No unique cytological differences were observed during early infection (<48 h) between the resistant and susceptible genotypes, except pathogen growth was restricted to one or a few host cells in SA27063. In both interactions reactive oxygen intermediates and phenolic compounds were produced, and cell death occurred. Two F2 populations segregating for resistance to spring black stem and leaf spot were established between SA27063 and the two susceptible accessions, A17 and SA3054. The cross between SA27063 and A17 represented a wider cross than between SA27063 and SA3054, as evidenced by higher genetic polymorphism, reduced fertility and aberrant phenotypes of F2 progeny. In the SA27063 × A17 F2 population a highly significant quantitative trait locus (QTL, LOD = 7.37; P < 0.00001) named resistance to the necrotroph P homa m edicaginis one (rnpm1) genetically mapped to the top arm of linkage group 4 (LG4). rnpm1 explained 33.6% of the phenotypic variance in the population's response to infection depicted on a 1–5 scale and was tightly linked to marker AW256637. A second highly significant QTL (LOD = 6.77; P < 0.00001), rnpm2, was located on the lower arm of LG8 in the SA27063 × SA3054 map. rnpm2 explained 29.6% of the phenotypic variance and was fine mapped to a 0.8 cM interval between markers h2_16a6a and h2_21h11d. rnpm1 is tightly linked to a cluster of Toll/Interleukin1 receptor-nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NBS-LRR) genes and disease resistance protein-like genes, while no resistance gene analogues (RGAs) are apparent in the genomic sequence of the reference accession A17 at the rnpm2 locus.

The induction of defence responses and cell death in the susceptible interaction following infection by P. medicaginis suggested this pathogen is not negatively affected by these responses and may promote them. A QTL for resistance was revealed in each of two populations derived from crosses between a resistant accession and two different susceptible accessions. Both loci are recessive in nature, and the simplest explanation for the existence of two separate QTLs is the occurrence of host genotype-specific susceptibility loci that may interact with undetermined P. medicaginis virulence factors.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: BioMed Central
Copyright: 2008 The Authors
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