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Plant Cell. Nov 1998; 10(11): 1861–1874.
PMCID: PMC143965

Intragenic recombination and diversifying selection contribute to the evolution of downy mildew resistance at the RPP8 locus of Arabidopsis.

Abstract

Pathogen resistance (R) genes of the NBS-LRR class (for nucleotide binding site and leucine-rich repeat) are found in many plant species and confer resistance to a diverse spectrum of pathogens. Little is known about the mechanisms that drive NBS-LRR gene evolution in the host-pathogen arms race. We cloned the RPP8 gene (for resistance to Peronospora parasitica) and compared the structure of alleles at this locus in resistant Landsberg erecta (Ler-0) and susceptible Columbia (Col-0) accessions. RPP8-Ler encodes an NBS-LRR protein with a putative N-terminal leucine zipper and is more closely related to previously cloned R genes that confer resistance to bacterial pathogens than it is to other known RPP genes. The RPP8 haplotype in Ler-0 contains the functional RPP8-Ler gene and a nonfunctional homolog, RPH8A. In contrast, the rpp8 locus in Col-0 contains a single chimeric gene, which was likely derived from unequal crossing over between RPP8-Ler and RPH8A ancestors within a Ler-like haplotype. Sequence divergence among RPP8 family members has been accelerated by positive selection on the putative ligand binding region in the LRRs. These observations indicate that NBS-LRR molecular evolution is driven by the same mechanisms that promote rapid sequence diversification among other genes involved in non-self-recognition.

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Selected References

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