Multiple susceptibility genes (S), identified in Arabidopsis, have been shown to be functionally conserved in crop plants. Mutations in these S genes result in resistance to different pathogens, opening a new way to achieve plant disease resistance. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of Defense No Death 1 (DND1) in susceptibility of tomato and potato to late blight (Phytophthora infestans). In Arabidopsis, the dnd1 mutant has broad-spectrum resistance against several fungal, bacterial, and viral pathogens. However this mutation is also associated with a dwarfed phenotype. Using an RNAi approach, we silenced AtDND1 orthologs in potato and tomato. Our results showed that silencing of the DND1 ortholog in both crops resulted in resistance to the pathogenic oomycete P. infestans and to two powdery mildew species, Oidium neolycopersici and Golovinomyces orontii. The resistance to P. infestans in potato was effective to four different isolates although the level of resistance (complete or partial) was dependent on the aggressiveness of the isolate. In tomato, DND1-silenced plants showed a severe dwarf phenotype and autonecrosis, whereas DND1-silenced potato plants were not dwarfed and showed a less pronounced autonecrosis. Our results indicate that S gene function of DND1 is conserved in tomato and potato. We discuss the possibilities of using RNAi silencing or loss-of-function mutations of DND1 orthologs, as well as additional S gene orthologs from Arabidopsis, to breed for resistance to pathogens in crop plants.
Sun, K., Wolters, A. M. A., Loonen, A. E. H. M., Huibers, R. P., van der Vlugt, R. A. A., Goverse, A., Jacobsen, E., Visser, R. G. F., & Bai, Y. (2016). Down-regulation of Arabidopsis DND1 orthologs in potato and tomato leads to broad-spectrum resistance to late blight and powdery mildew. Transgenic Research, 25, 123-138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-015-9921-5