Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae is the causal agent of rice bacterial blight, a destructive rice disease worldwide. The gene xa5 provides race-specific resistance to X. oryzae pv. oryzae, and encodes the small subunit of transcription factor IIA. How xa5 functions in bacterial blight resistance is not well understood, and its recessive gene action is disputed. Here we show that xa5 is inherited in a completely recessive manner and the susceptible allele Xa5 is fully dominant. In accordance with this, bacterial growth in heterozygous and homozygous susceptible lines is not significantly different. Further, one allele of Xa5 is sufficient to promote disease in previously resistant plants; additional copies are not predictive of increased lesion length. Surprisingly, a resistant nearly isogenic line (NIL) of an indica variety sustains high levels of bacterial populations compared to the susceptible NIL, yet the resistant plants restrict symptom expression. In contrast, in japonica NILs, bacterial population dynamics differ in resistant and susceptible genotypes. However, both resistant indica and japonica plants delay bacterial movement down the leaf. These results support a model in which xa5-mediated recessive resistance is the result of restricted bacterial movement, but not restricted multiplication.