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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2007;45:289-306.

Flax rust resistance gene specificity is based on direct resistance-avirulence protein interactions.

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CSIRO-Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.


Genetic studies of the flax-flax rust interaction led to the formulation of the gene-for-gene hypothesis and identified resistance genes (R) in the host plant and pathogenicity genes, including avirulence (Avr) and inhibitor of avirulence genes (I), in the rust pathogen. R genes have now been cloned from four of the five loci in flax and all encode proteins of the Toll, Interleukin-1 receptor, R gene-nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat (TIR-NBS-LRR) class. Avr genes have been cloned from four loci in flax rust and encode small secreted proteins with no between locus similarity and no close homologs in current data bases. It is postulated that Avr proteins enter the host cell, have virulence effector functions, and in resistant host genotypes, are recognized by direct and specific interaction with host R proteins, leading to activation of rust resistance defense responses. Direct interaction between R and Avr proteins is the basis of gene-for-gene specificity in the flax-flax rust system and both R and Avr genes have the signatures of diversifying selection, suggesting the existence of a coevolutionary arms race between the host plant and its obligate rust pathogen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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