- PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
A major class of disease resistance (R) genes which encode nucleotide binding and leucine rich repeat (NB-LRR) proteins have been used in traditional breeding programs for crop protection. However, it has been difficult to functionally transfer NB-LRR-type R genes in taxonomically distinct families. Here we demonstrate that a pair of Arabidopsis (Brassicaceae) NB-LRR-type R genes, RPS4 and RRS1, properly function in two other Brassicaceae, Brassica rapa and Brassica napus, but also in two Solanaceae, Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The solanaceous plants transformed with RPS4/RRS1 confer bacterial effector-specific immunity responses. Furthermore, RPS4 and RRS1, which confer resistance to a fungal pathogen Colletotrichum higginsianum in Brassicaceae, also protect against Colletotrichum orbiculare in cucumber (Cucurbitaceae). Importantly, RPS4/RRS1 transgenic plants show no autoimmune phenotypes, indicating that the NB-LRR proteins are tightly regulated. The successful transfer of two R genes at the family level implies that the downstream components of R genes are highly conserved. The functional interfamily transfer of R genes can be a powerful strategy for providing resistance to a broad range of pathogens.
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