Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58108-6050.
A highly virulent form of the wheat stem rust pathogen Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici race TTKSK is virulent on both wheat and barley, presenting a major threat to world food security. The recessive and temperature-sensitive rpg4 gene is the only effective source of resistance identified in barley (Hordeum vulgare) against P. graminis f. sp. tritici race TTKSK. Efforts to position clone rpg4 localized resistance to a small interval on barley chromosome 5HL, tightly linked to the rye stem rust (P. graminis f. sp. secalis) resistance (R) gene Rpg5. High-resolution genetic analysis and post-transcriptional gene silencing of the genes at the rpg4/Rpg5 locus determined that three tightly linked genes (Rpg5, HvRga1, and HvAdf3) are required together for rpg4-mediated wheat stem rust resistance. Alleles of the three genes were analyzed from a diverse set of 14 domesticated barley lines (H. vulgare) and 8 wild barley accessions (H. vulgare subsp. spontaneum) to characterize diversity that may determine incompatibility (resistance). The analysis determined that HvAdf3 and HvRga1 code for predicted functional proteins that do not appear to contain polymorphisms determining the compatible (susceptible) interactions with the wheat stem rust pathogen and were expressed at the transcriptional level from both resistant and susceptible barley lines. The HvAdf3 alleles shared 100% amino acid identity among all 22 genotypes examined. The P. graminis f. sp. tritici race QCCJ-susceptible barley lines with HvRga1 alleles containing the limited amino acid substitutions unique to the susceptible varieties also contained predicted nonfunctional rpg5 alleles. Thus, susceptibility in these lines is likely due to the nonfunctional RPG5 proteins. The Rpg5 allele analysis determined that 9 of the 13 P. graminis f. sp. tritici race QCCJ-susceptible barley lines contain alleles that either code for predicted truncated proteins as the result of a single nucleotide substitution, resulting in a stop codon at amino acid 161, a single cytosine indel causing a frame shift, and a stop codon at amino acid 217, or an indel that deleted the entire STPK domain. The three P. graminis f. sp. tritici race QCCJ-susceptible lines (Swiss landraces Hv489, Hv492, and Hv611) and the wild barley accession WBDC160 contain rpg5 alleles predicted to encode full-length proteins containing a nonsynonomous nucleotide substitution that results in the amino acid substitution E1287A. This amino acid substitution present in the uncharacterized C-terminal domain is not found in any resistant line and may be important to elicit the resistance reaction. These data suggest that rpg4-mediated resistance against many wheat stem rust pathogen races, including P. graminis f. sp. tritici race TTKSK, rely on the Rpg5 R gene; thus, rpg4- and Rpg5-mediated resistance rely on a common R gene and should not be considered completely distinct. The data also determined that Rpg5 gene-specific molecular markers could be used to detect rpg4-mediated wheat stem rust resistance for marker-assisted selection.