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Silencing a Candidate Nematode Effector Gene Corresponding to the Tomato Resistance Gene Mi-1 Leads to Acquisition of Virulence

May 2008 , Volume 21 , Number  5
Pages  576 - 585

Cynthia A. Gleason, Qingli L. Liu, and Valerie M. Williamson

Department of Nematology, University of California, Davis

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Accepted 17 January 2008.

The Mi-1 gene in tomato confers effective resistance against several species of root-knot nematode, including Meloidogyne javanica. A strain of M. javanica that can reproduce on tomato with Mi-1 was obtained from a culture of an avirulent strain after greenhouse selection. DNA blots and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis indicated that the two nematode strains are closely related. Expression patterns visualized as cDNA AFLPs were nearly identical except for a cDNA fragment, Cg-1, that was present in the avirulent strain but not in the virulent strain. DNA blots showed that Cg-1 corresponds to a member of a small gene family with one or more copies missing in the virulent strain compared with the avirulent strain. Except for the presence of a histone stem loop near the 3′ end of the transcript, Cg-1 shows no similarity to other sequences in GenBank. The longest open reading frame is 32 amino acids and initiates at the fourth AUG in the predicted transcript. When nematode juveniles of the Mi-1-avirulent strain were soaked in dsRNA corresponding to part of the predicted Cg-1 transcript, they produced progeny that were virulent on tomato carrying the Mi-1 gene, strongly suggesting that Cg-1 is required in the nematode for Mi-1-mediated resistance.

Additional keywords:avirulence, histone hairpin, R gene, sORF-mRNA

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society