María J. Llamas, and
CSIC, Institute of Sustainable Agriculture, Apdo. 4084, E-14080 Córdoba, Spain.
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Accepted for publication 17 March 2007.
In this work, we studied the resistance of 277 Medicago truncatula accessions against powdery mildew and further characterized the defense mechanisms of resistant plants. Ten resistant accessions were selected according to macroscopic assessment. Histological studies showed a range of defense mechanisms, acting alone or combined, that impeded fungal development at different stages. Some accessions allowed a reduced spore germination frequency compared with that of the susceptible control. In others, the fungus was arrested at penetration stage due to papilla formation. Epidermal cells of several accessions were penetrated by the fungus but then hypersensitive response (HR) leading to cell death hampered fungal development. In some cases, cell death was very fast and no haustorium could be observed in epidermal cells, whereas in others, haustoria and secondary hyphae indicated a slow HR. Finally, in some accessions in which no HR was observed, colony growth was restricted through posthaustorial defense mechanisms. Characterization of defense mechanisms will be useful for further cellular and molecular studies to unravel the bases of resistance in this species in particular and in legume--powdery mildew interaction in general.
© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society