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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2001 Apr;14(4):460-70.

Most AAL toxin-sensitive Nicotiana species are resistant to the tomato fungal pathogen Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Free University, Institute for Molecular Biological Sciences, BioCentrum Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The phytopathogenic fungus Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici produces AAL toxins required to colonize susceptible tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) plants. AAL toxins and fumonisins of the unrelated fungus Fusarium moniliforme are sphinganine-analog mycotoxins (SAMs), which are toxic for some plant species and mammalian cell lines. Insensitivity of tomato to SAMs is determined by the Alternaria stem canker gene 1 (Asc-1), and sensitivity is associated with a mutated Asc-1. We show that SAM-sensitive species occur at a low frequency in the Nicotiana genus and that candidate Asc-1 homologs are still present in those species. In Nicotiana spp., SAM-sensitivity and insensitivity also is mediated by a single codominant locus, suggesting that SAM-sensitive genotypes are host for A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici. Nicotiana umbratica plants homozygous for SAM-sensitivity are indeed susceptible to A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici. In contrast, SAM-sensitive genotypes of Nicotiana spegazzinii, Nicotiana acuminata var. acuminata, Nicotiana bonariensis, and Nicotiana langsdorffii are resistant to A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici infection concomitant with localized cell death. Additional (nonhost) resistance mechanisms to A. alternata f. sp. lycopersici that are not based on an insensitivity to SAMs are proposed to be present in Nicotiana species.

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