Late blight disease caused by the plant pathogenic oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans is one of the most limiting factors in potato production. P. infestans is able to overcome introgressed late blight resistance by adaptation of effector genes. AVR1 is an RXLR effector that triggers immune responses when recognized by the potato resistance protein R1. P. infestans isolates avirulent on R1 plants were found to have AVR1 variants that are recognized by R1. Virulent isolates though, lack AVR1 but do contain a close homologue of AVR1, named A-L, of which all variants escape recognition by R1. Co-expression of AVR1 and R1 in Nicotiana benthamiana results in a hypersensitive response (HR). In contrast, HR is not activated when A-L is co-expressed with R1. AVR1 and A-L are highly similar in structure. They share two W motifs and one Y motif in the C-terminal part but differ in the T-region, a 38 amino acid extension at the carboxyl-terminal tail of AVR1 lacking in A-L. To pinpoint what determines R1-mediated recognition of AVR1 we tested elicitor activity of AVR1 and A-L chimeric and deletion constructs by co-expression with R1. The T-region is important as it enables R1-mediated recognition of A-L, not only when fused to A-L but also via trans-complementation. Yet, AVR1 lacking the T-region is still active as an elicitor of HR, but this activity is lost when certain motifs are swapped with A-L. These data show that A-L circumvents R1 recognition not only because it lacks the T-region, but also because of differences in the conserved C-terminal effector motifs.
- Effector variation
- Effector-triggered immunity (ETI)
- Host defence
- Late blight disease
- Nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat (NLR) protein
- Potato resistance