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Genetics. 2004 Dec;168(4):2197-206.

Fitness costs of mutations affecting the systemic acquired resistance pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.


This study investigated the fitness effects of four mutations (npr1, cpr1, cpr5, and cpr6) and two transgenic genotypes (NPR1-L and NPR1-H) affecting different points of the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) signaling pathway associated with pathogen defense in Arabidopsis thaliana. The npr1 mutation, which resulted in a failure to express SAR, had no effect on fitness under growth chamber conditions, but decreased fitness in the field. The expression of NPR1 positively correlated with the fitness in the field. Constitutive activation of SAR by cpr1, cpr5, and cpr6 generally decreased fitness in the field and under two nutrient levels in two growth chamber conditions. At low-nutrient levels, fitness differences between wild type and the constitutive mutants were unchanged or reduced (especially in cpr5). The reduced fitness of the constitutive mutants suggests that this pathway is costly, with the precise fitness consequences highly dependent on the environmental context.

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