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PLoS Genet. 2010 Apr 1;6(4):e1000894. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000894.

Allele-specific virulence attenuation of the Pseudomonas syringae HopZ1a type III effector via the Arabidopsis ZAR1 resistance protein.

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Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Plant resistance (R) proteins provide a robust surveillance system to defend against potential pathogens. Despite their importance in plant innate immunity, relatively few of the approximately 170 R proteins in Arabidopsis have well-characterized resistance specificity. In order to identify the R protein responsible for recognition of the Pseudomonas syringae type III secreted effector (T3SE) HopZ1a, we assembled an Arabidopsis R gene T-DNA Insertion Collection (ARTIC) from publicly available Arabidopsis thaliana insertion lines and screened it for plants lacking HopZ1a-induced immunity. This reverse genetic screen revealed that the Arabidopsis R protein HOPZ-activated resistance 1 (ZAR1; At3g50950) is required for recognition of HopZ1a in Arabidopsis. ZAR1 belongs to the coiled-coil (CC) class of nucleotide binding site and leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) containing R proteins; however, the ZAR1 CC domain phylogenetically clusters in a clade distinct from other related Arabidopsis R proteins. ZAR1-mediated immunity is independent of several genes required by other R protein signaling pathways, including NDR1 and RAR1, suggesting that ZAR1 possesses distinct signaling requirements. The closely-related T3SE protein, HopZ1b, is still recognized by zar1 Arabidopsis plants indicating that Arabidopsis has evolved at least two independent R proteins to recognize the HopZ T3SE family. Also, in Arabidopsis zar1 plants HopZ1a promotes P. syringae growth indicative of an ancestral virulence function for this T3SE prior to the evolution of recognition by the host resistance protein ZAR1. Our results demonstrate that the Arabidopsis resistance protein ZAR1 confers allele-specific recognition and virulence attenuation of the Pseudomonas syringae T3SE protein HopZ1a.

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