Durable rust resistance - Understanding “R” and “APR” in cereal hosts

Leaf rust is the most widely occurring disease of wheat worldwide. Resistance is the most practical and effective way to control the disease. Most leaf rust resistance genes are race-specific (“R”, qualitative resistance) and a relatively few are adult plant resistance genes, some of which have been described as slow rusting (“APR”, quantitative resistance). Due to limited knowledge, most resistance genes have been deployed in cultivars by an inefficient “blind” approach. This results in the well known “boom and bust cycle” (resistance followed by susceptibility) because the pathogen evolves rapidly and migrates over long distances. Therefore, a breeding-by-design approach is needed to achieve durable resistance. Pyramiding multiple R, APR or APR+R genes has been used successfully over many years to achieve durable resistance to leaf rust in Canada and some other countries. To further enhance this strategy we seek to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying key resistance genes. To identify the molecular mechanisms underlying rust resistance conferred by major R and APR genes, we performed an integrated systemic transcriptome analysis via RNA-seq on the Thatcher NILs with Lr16, Lr22a, Lr21, Lr34, Lr34+Lr16, and Lr67 challenged with Pt race BBBD. Sampling was conducted over a time series during the infection process of both seedlings and adult plants. Through RNA-seq we were able to capture the dynamic interactome of host-pathogen interactions conferred by these R and APR genes. Preliminary results revealed that resistance reactions conferred by R gene Lr21 and APR gene Lr67 were significantly different compared to other R and APR genes. Significantly, the Thatcher NIL line with Lr34+Lr16 showed the combines defense reactions of Lr16 and Lr34.     

National Research Council of Canada, Canada
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