Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, is one of the most destructive crop pathogens that threaten global food security. Host resistance (R) genes may help to control the disease, but recognition by through the gene products can be evaded by newly emerging isolates. Such isolates are dangerous as they may cause disease outbreaks under favorable conditions. However, our lack of knowledge about adaptation in these isolates jeopardizes an apt response to resistance breakdown. Here we performed genome and transcriptome sequencing of HB1501 and HN1602, two field isolates from distinct Chinese geographic regions. We found extensive polymorphisms in these isolates, including gene copy number variations, nucleotide polymorphisms, and gene expression changes. Effector encoding genes, which contribute to virulence, show distinct expression landscapes in P. infestans isolates HB1501 and HN1602. In particular, polymorphisms at multiple effectors required for recognition (Avr loci) enabled these isolates to overcome corresponding R gene based resistance. Although the isolates evolved multiple strategies to evade recognition, we experimentally verified that several R genes such as R8, RB, and Rpi-vnt1.1 remain effective against these isolates and are valuable to potato breeding in the future. In summary, rapid characterization of the adaptation in emerging field isolates through genomic tools inform rational agricultural management to prevent potential future epidemics.
- Analytical and theoretical plant pathology
- Phytophthora infestans
- Potato late blight