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VIEW ARTICLE   |    DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-4-052

Cloning and Characterization of cDNA of Avirulence Gene avr9 of the Fungal Pathogen Cladosporium fulvum, Causal Agent of Tomato Leaf Mold. Jan A. L. van Kan. Agricultural University Wageningen, Department of Phytopathology, 6700 EE Wageningen, The Netherlands. Guido F. J. M. van den Ackerveken, and Pierre J. G. M. de Wit. Agricultural University Wageningen, Department of Phytopathology, 6700 EE Wageningen, The Netherlands.. MPMI 4:52-59. Accepted 27 August 1990. Copyright 1991 The American Phytopathological Society.

A race-specific peptide elicitor from Cladosporium fulvum induces a hypersensitive response on Cf9 tomato genotypes. We have hypothesized that the avirulence of fungal races on Cf9 genotypes is due to the production of this elicitor by an avirulence gene, avr9. To obtain cDNA clones of the avr9 gene, oligonucleotide probes were designed based on the amino acid sequence determined previously. In northern blot analysis, one oligonucleotide detected an mRNA of 600 nucleotides in tomato-C. fulvum interactions involving fungal races producing the elicitor. A primer extension experiment indicated that the probe hybridized to a region near position 270 of the mRNA. The probe was used to screen a cDNA library made from poly(A)+ RNA from an appropriate compatible tomato-C. fulvum interaction. One clone was obtained corresponding to the mRNA detected by the oligonucleotide probe. Sequence analysis revealed that this clone encoded the avr9 elicitor. By isolating longer clones and by RNA sequencing, the primary structure of the mRNA was determined. The mRNA contains an open reading frame of 63 amino acids, including the sequence of the elicitor at the carboxyterminus. A time course experiment showed that the avr9 mRNA accumulates in a compatible tomato-C. fulvum interaction in correlation with the increase of fungal biomass. The avr9 gene is a single-copy gene that is absent in fungal races which are virulent on tomato Cf9 genotypes. Possible functions of the avirulence gene are discussed.

Additional Keywords: gene-for-gene hypothesis, plant resistance gene, race-specific elicitor.