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PLoS One. 2016 Dec 21;11(12):e0168776. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168776. eCollection 2016.

Identification of a Differentially Expressed TIR-NBS-LRR Gene in a Major QTL Associated to Leaf Rust Resistance in Salix.

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Department of Plant Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.


An earlier identified major quantitative trait locus for resistance towards the willow leaf rust fungus Melampsora larici-epitea in a Salix viminalis x (S. viminalis × S. schwerinii) population was used to identify potential resistance genes to the rust pathogen. Screening a genomic bacterial artificial chromosome library with markers from the peak position of the QTL region revealed one gene with TIR-NBS-LRR (Toll Interleukin1 Receptor-Nucleotide Binding Site-Leucine-Rich Repeat) domain structure indicative of a resistance gene. The resistance gene analog was denoted RGA1 and further analysis revealed a number of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the LRR domain between the resistant and susceptible Salix genotypes. Gene expression levels under controlled conditions showed a significantly lower constitutive expression of RGA1 in the susceptible genotype. In addition, the susceptible genotype showed a significantly reduced expression level of the RGA1 gene at 24 hours post inoculation with M. larici-epitea. This indicates that the pathogen may actively suppress RGA1 gene expression allowing a compatible plant-pathogen interaction and causing infection.

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