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A point mutation and large deletion at the candidate avirulence locus AvrMlp7 in the poplar rust fungus correlate with poplar RMlp7 resistance breakdown

Abstract : The deployment of plant varieties carrying resistance genes (R) exerts strong selection pressure on pathogen populations. Rapidly evolving avirulence genes (Avr) allow pathogens to escape R-mediated plant immunity through a variety of mechanisms, leading to virulence. The poplar rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina is a damaging pathogen of poplars in Europe. It underwent a major adaptive event in 1994, with the breakdown of the poplar RMlp7 resistance gene. Population genomics studies identified a locus in the genome of M. larici-populina that probably corresponds to the candidate avirulence gene AvrMlp7. Here, to further characterize this effector, we used a population genetics approach on a comprehensive set of 281 individuals recovered throughout a 28-year period encompassing the resistance breakdown event. Using two dedicated molecular tools, genotyping at the candidate locus highlighted two different alterations of a predominant allele found mainly before the resistance breakdown: a nonsynonymous mutation and a complete deletion of this locus. This results in six diploid genotypes: three genotypes related to the avirulent phenotype and three related to the virulent phenotype. The temporal survey of the candidate locus revealed that both alterations were found in association during the resistance breakdown event. They pre-existed before the breakdown in a heterozygous state with the predominant allele cited above. Altogether, these results suggest that the association of both alterations at the candidate locus AvrMlp7 drove the poplar rust adaptation to RMlp7-mediated immunity. This study demonstrates for the first time a case of adaptation from standing genetic variation in rust fungi during a qualitative resistance breakdown.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03510966
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 4:53:04 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 4:26:00 PM

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Clémentine Louet, Méline Saubin, Axelle Andrieux, Antoine Persoons, Mathilde Gorse, et al.. A point mutation and large deletion at the candidate avirulence locus AvrMlp7 in the poplar rust fungus correlate with poplar RMlp7 resistance breakdown. Molecular Ecology, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/mec.16294⟩. ⟨hal-03510966⟩

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