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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2439-44. Epub 2002 Feb 12.

Sensitivity to Alternaria alternata toxin in citrus because of altered mitochondrial RNA processing.

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  • 1United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Miki, Kagawa 761-0795, Japan.


Specificity in the interaction between rough lemon (Citrus jambhiri Lush.) and the fungal pathogen Alternaria alternata rough lemon pathotype is determined by a host-selective toxin, ACR-toxin. Mitochondria from rough lemon are sensitive to ACR-toxin whereas mitochondria from resistant plants, including other citrus species, are resistant. We have identified a C. jambhiri mitochondrial DNA sequence, designated ACRS (ACR-toxin sensitivity gene), that confers toxin sensitivity to Escherichia coli. ACRS is located in the group II intron of the mitochondrial tRNA-Ala and is translated into a SDS-resistant oligomeric protein in C. jambhiri mitochondria but is not translated in the toxin-insensitive mitochondria. ACRS is present in the mitochondrial genome of both toxin-sensitive and -insensitive citrus. However, in mitochondria of toxin-insensitive plants, the transcripts from ACRS are shorter than those in mitochondria of sensitive plants. These results demonstrate that sensitivity to ACR-toxin and hence specificity of the interaction between A. alternata rough lemon pathotype and C. jambhiri is due to differential posttranscriptional processing of a mitochondrial gene.

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