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Aberrant mRNA Processing of the Maize Rp1-D Rust Resistance Gene in Wheat and Barley

August 2004 , Volume 17 , Number  8
Pages  853 - 864

Michael A. Ayliffe , 1 Martin Steinau , 2 Robert F. Park , 3 Lee Rooke , 1 Maria G. Pacheco , 2 Scot H. Hulbert , 2 Harold N. Trick , 2 and Anthony J. Pryor 1

1CSIRO Plant Industry, Box 1600, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia; 2Department of Plant Pathology, Throckmorton Plant Science Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66505, U.S.A.; 3The University of Sydney, Plant Breeding Institute Cobbitty, Private Bag 11, Camden NSW, 2570, Australia

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Accepted 15 March 2004.

The maize Rp1-D gene confers race-specific resistance against Puccinia sorghi (common leaf rust) isolates containing a corresponding avrRp1-D avirulence gene. An Rp1-D genomic clone and a similar Rp1-D transgene regulated by the maize ubiquitin promoter were transformed independently into susceptible maize lines and shown to confer Rp1-D resistance, demonstrating that this resistance can be transferred as a single gene. Transfer of these functional transgenes into wheat and barley did not result in novel resistances when these plants were challenged with isolates of wheat stem rust (P. graminis), wheat leaf rust (P. triticina), or barley leaf rust (P. hordei). Regardless of the promoter employed, low levels of gene expression were observed. When constitutive promoters were used for transgene expression, a majority of Rp1-D transcripts were truncated in the nucleotide binding site-encoding region by premature polyadenylation. This aberrant mRNA processing was unrelated to gene function because an inactive version of the gene also generated such transcripts. These data demonstrate that resistance gene transfer between species may not be limited only by divergence of signaling effector molecules and pathogen avirulence ligands, but potentially also by more fundamental gene expression and transcript processing limitations.

Additional keywords: cereal, R gene.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society