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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Dec 19;97(26):14789-94.

Structure-function analysis of the tobacco mosaic virus resistance gene N.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, OML451, P.O. Box 208104, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8104, USA.


The tobacco N gene is a member of the Toll-interleukin-1 receptor/nucleotide-binding site/leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NBS-LRR) class of plant resistance (R) genes and confers resistance to tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). We investigated the importance of specific domains of N in inducing TMV resistance, by examining various N deletion and point mutations that introduce single amino acid substitution mutants in vivo. Our deletion analysis suggests that the TIR, NBS, and LRR domains play an indispensable role in the induction of resistance responses against TMV. We show that amino acids conserved among the Toll/IL-1R/plant R gene TIR domain and NBS-containing proteins play a critical role in N-mediated TMV resistance. Some loss-of-function N alleles such as the TIR deletion and point mutations in the NBS (G216A/E/V/R, G218R, G219D, K222E/N, and T223A/N) interfere with the wild-type N function and behave like dominant negative mutations. These F(1) plants mount a hypersensitive response (HR) that is indistinguishable from that of the wild-type N plants, yet TMV was able to move systemically, causing a systemic hypersensitive response (SHR). Many amino acid substitutions in the TIR, NBS, and LRR domains of N lead to a partial loss-of-function phenotype. These mutant plants mount delayed HR compared with the wild-type N plants and fail to contain the virus to the infection site. In addition, some partial loss-of-function alleles (W82S/A, W141S/A, G218V/S, and G219V) interfere with the wild-type N function, leading to SHR. The partial loss-of-function and dominant negative mutant alleles described in this report will be useful in furthering our understanding of the TIR-NBS-LRR class of R genes.

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