The powdery mildew resistance gene Pm8 derived from rye is suppressed by its wheat ortholog Pm3
The powdery mildew resistance gene Pm8 derived from rye is located on a 1BL.1RS chromosome translocation in wheat. However, some wheat lines with this translocation do not show resistance to isolates of the wheat powdery mildew pathogen avirulent to Pm8 due to an unknown genetically dominant suppression mechanism. Here we show that lines with suppressed Pm8 activity contain an intact and expressed Pm8 gene. Therefore, the absence of Pm8 function in certain 1BL.1RS‐containing wheat lines is not the result of gene loss or mutation but is based on suppression. The wheat gene Pm3, an ortholog of rye Pm8, suppressed Pm8‐mediated powdery mildew resistance in lines containing Pm8 in a transient single‐cell expression assay. This result was further confirmed in transgenic lines with combined Pm8 and Pm3 transgenes. Expression analysis revealed that suppression is not the result of gene silencing, either in wheat 1BL.1RS translocation lines carrying Pm8 or in transgenic genotypes with both Pm8 and Pm3 alleles. In addition, a similar abundance of the PM8 and PM3 proteins in single or double homozygous transgenic lines suggested that a post‐translational mechanism is involved in suppression of Pm8. Co‐expression of Pm8 and Pm3 genes in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves followed by co‐immunoprecipitation analysis showed that the two proteins interact. Therefore, the formation of a heteromeric protein complex might result in inefficient or absent signal transmission for the defense reaction. These data provide a molecular explanation for the suppression of resistance genes in certain genetic backgrounds and suggest ways to circumvent it in future plant breeding.
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