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Changes in Disease Resistance Phenotypes Associated With Plant Physiological Age Are Not Caused by Variation in R Gene Transcript Abundance

March 2009 , Volume 22 , Number  3
Pages  362 - 368

Benjamin P. Millett,1 Dimitre S. Mollov,1 Massimo Iorizzo,1,2 Domenico Carputo,2 and James M. Bradeen1

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108 U.S.A.; 2Department of Soil, Plant, Environmental and Animal Production Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, Portici (NA), Italy


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Accepted 5 November 2008.

Foliar late blight is one of the most important diseases of potato. Foliar blight resistance has been shown to change as a plant ages. In other pathosystems, resistance (R) gene transcript levels appear to be correlated to disease resistance. The cloning of the broad-spectrum, foliar blight resistance gene RB provided the opportunity to explore how foliar blight resistance and R-gene transcript levels vary with plant age. Plants of Solanum bulbocastanum PT29, from which RB, including the native promoter and other flanking regions, was cloned, and S. tuberosum cv. Dark Red Norland (nontransformed and RB-transformed) representing three different developmental stages were screened for resistance to late blight and RB transcript levels. Preflowering plants of all genotypes exhibited the highest levels of resistance, followed by postflowering and near-senescing plants. The RB transgene significantly affected resistance, enhancing resistance levels of all RB-containing lines, especially in younger plants. RB transgene transcripts were detected at all plant ages, despite weak correlation with disease resistance. Consistent transcript levels in plants of different physiological ages with variable levels of disease resistance demonstrate that changes in disease-resistance phenotypes associated with plant age cannot be attributed to changes in R-gene transcript abundance.



© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society