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Stage-Specific Suppression of Basal Defense Discriminates Barley Plants Containing Fast- and Delayed-Acting Mla Powdery Mildew Resistance Alleles

September 2006 , Volume 19 , Number  9
Pages  939 - 947

Rico A. Caldo , 1 Dan Nettleton , 2 Jiqing Peng , 3 and Roger P. Wise 1 , 4

1Department of Plant Pathology and Center for Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses, 2Department of Statistics, 3GeneChip Facility, Office of Biotechnology, 213L Molecular Biology Building, and 4Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research, USDA-ARS, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, U.S.A.

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Accepted 4 April 2006.

Nonspecific recognition of pathogen-derived general elicitors triggers the first line of plant basal defense, which in turn, preconditions the host towards resistance or susceptibility. To elucidate how basal defense responses influence the onset of Mla (mildew resistance locus a)-specified resistance, we performed a meta-analysis of GeneChip mRNA expression for 155 basal defense-related genes of barley (Hordeum vulgare) challenged with Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei, the causal agent of powdery mildew disease. In plants containing the fast-acting Mla1, Mla6, or Mla13 alleles, transcripts hyper-accumulated from 0 to 16 h after inoculation (hai) in both compatible and incompatible interactions. Suppression of basal defense-related transcripts was observed after 16 hai only in compatible interactions, whereas these transcripts were sustained or increased in incompatible interactions. By contrast, in plants containing wild-type and mutants of the delayed-acting Mla12 allele, an early hyper-induction of transcripts from 0 to 8 hai was observed, but the expression of many of these genes is markedly suppressed from 8 to 16 hai. These results suggest that the inhibition of basal defense facilitates the development of haustoria by the pathogen, consequently delaying the onset of host resistance responses. Thus, we hypothesize that the regulation of basal defense influences host-cell accessibility to the fungal pathogen and drives allelic diversification of gene-specific resistance phenotypes.

Additional keywords: innate immunity , pathogen-associated molecular patterns , timing of resistance response .

The American Phytopathological Society, 2006