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Allele Sequencing of the Barley Stem Rust Resistance Gene Rpg1 Identifies Regions Relevant to Disease Resistance

August 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  8
Pages  910 - 918

A. Mirlohi, R. Brueggeman, T. Drader, J. Nirmala, B. J. Steffenson, and A. Kleinhofs

First author: College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Esfahan, Iran; second, third, and fourth authors: Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman; fifth author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul; and sixth author: School of Molecular Biosciences and Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman. The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

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Accepted for publication 2 April 2008.

The stem rust resistance gene Rpg1 has protected North American barley cultivars from significant yield losses for over 65 years. The remarkable durability of this gene warrants further study as to its possible origin and allelic variation. Eight Swiss barley (Hordeum vulgare) landraces and eight wild barley (H. vulgare subsp. spontaneum) accessions from diverse geographic regions were analyzed to uncover new alleles of Rpg1 and learn about its possible origin. The two germplasm groups included accessions that were resistant and susceptible to Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici pathotype MCCF. Allele-specific primers were utilized to amplify 1 kbp overlapping fragments spanning the Rpg1 gene and sequenced if a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) fragment was generated. Variation among the PCR products revealed significant polymorphisms among these Hordeum accessions. Landraces and wild barley accessions susceptible to pathotype MCCF exhibited the highest degree of Rpg1 polymorphism. One resistant landrace (Hv672) and one resistant wild barley accession (WBDC040) yielded all seven Rpg1-specific PCR fragments, but only landrace Hv672 coded for an apparently functional Rpg1 as determined by comparison to previously characterized resistant and susceptible alleles and also resistance to HKHJ, a stem rust pathotype that can specifically detect Rpg1 in the presence of other resistance genes. Accessions resistant to stem rust pathotype MCCF, but completely lacking Rpg1-specific PCR amplification and hybridization with an Rpg1-specific probe, suggested the presence of stem rust resistant gene(s) different from Rpg1 in the Hordeum germplasm pool. Some Rpg1 alleles that retained the ability to autophosphorylate did not confer resistance to Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici pathotype MCCF, confirming our previous observations that autophosphorylation is essential, but not sufficient for disease resistance. Thus, the RPG1 protein plays a complex role in the stem rust disease resistance-signaling pathway.

Additional keywords:functional analysis, R genes.

© 2008 The American Phytopathological Society