Plants have the capacity to respond to conserved molecular features known as microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). The goal of this work was to assess variation in the MAMP response in sorghum, to map loci associated with this variation, and to investigate possible connections with variation in quantitative disease resistance. Using an assay that measures the production of reactive oxygen species, we assessed variation in the MAMP response in a sorghum association mapping population known as the sorghum conversion population (SCP). We identified consistent variation for the response to chitin and flg22—an epitope of flagellin. We identified two SNP loci associated with variation in the flg22 response and one with the chitin response. We also assessed resistance to Target Leaf Spot (TLS) disease caused by the necrotrophic fungus Bipolaris cookei in the SCP. We identified one strong association on chromosome 5 near a previously characterized disease resistance gene. A moderately significant correlation was observed between stronger flg22 response and lower TLS resistance. Possible reasons for this are discussed.
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