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Plant Cell. 2003 Mar;15(3):732-44.

Recognition specificity and RAR1/SGT1 dependence in barley Mla disease resistance genes to the powdery mildew fungus.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, Department of Plant-Microbe Interactions, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, D-50829 Köln, Germany.


A large number of resistance specificities to the powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei map to the barley Mla locus. This complex locus harbors multiple members of three distantly related gene families that encode proteins that contain an N-terminal coiled-coil (CC) structure, a central nucleotide binding (NB) site, a Leu-rich repeat (LRR) region, and a C-terminal non-LRR (CT) region. We identified Mla12, which encodes a CC-NB-LRR-CT protein that shares 89 and 92% identical residues with the known proteins MLA1 and MLA6. Slow Mla12-triggered resistance was altered dramatically to a rapid response by overexpression of Mla12. A series of reciprocal domains swaps between MLA1 and MLA6 identified in each protein recognition domain for cognate powdery mildew fungus avirulence genes (AvrMla1 and AvrMla6). These domains were within different but overlapping LRR regions and the CT part. Unexpectedly, MLA chimeras that confer AvrMla6 recognition exhibited markedly different dependence on Rar1, a gene required for the function of some but not all Mla resistance specificities. Furthermore, uncoupling of MLA6-specific function from RAR1 also uncoupled the response from SGT1, a protein known to associate physically with RAR1. Our findings suggest that differences in the degree of RAR1 dependence of different MLA immunity responses are determined by intrinsic properties of MLA variants and place RAR1/SGT1 activity downstream of and/or coincident with the action of resistance protein-containing recognition complexes.

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