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Plant Cell. 1994 Apr;6(4):511-20.

Tomato mutants altered in bacterial disease resistance provide evidence for a new locus controlling pathogen recognition.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


We have employed a genetic approach to study the resistance of tomato to the phytopathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato. Resistance to P. s. tomato depends upon expression of the Pto locus in tomato, which encodes a protein with similarity to serine/threonine protein kinases and recognizes pathogen strains expressing the avirulence gene avrPto. Eleven tomato mutants were isolated with altered resistance to P. s. tomato strains expressing avrPto. We identified mutations both in the Pto resistance locus and in a new locus designated Prf (for Pseudomonas resistance and fenthion sensitivity). The genetic approach allowed us to dissect the roles of these loci in signal transduction in response to pathogen attack. Lines carrying mutations in the Pto locus vary 200-fold in the degree to which they are susceptible to P. s. tomato strains expressing avrPto. The pto mutants retain sensitivity to the organophosphate insecticide fenthion; this trait segregates with Pto in genetic crosses. This result suggested that contrary to previous hypotheses, the Pto locus controls pathogen recognition but not fenthion sensitivity. Interestingly, mutations in the prf locus result in both complete susceptibility to P. s. tomato and insensitivity to fenthion, suggesting that Prf plays a role in tomato signaling in response to both pathogen elicitors and fenthion. Because pto and prf mutations do not alter recognition of Xanthomonas campestris strains expressing avrBsP, an avirulence gene recognized by all tested tomato cultivars, Prf does not play a general role in disease resistance but possibly functions specifically in resistance against P. s. tomato. Genetic analysis of F2 populations from crosses of pto and prf homozygotes indicated that the Pto and Prf loci are tightly linked.

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