Somatic variation plays a key role in the evolution of the Vf gene family residing in the Vf locus that confers resistance to apple scab disease

Mingliang Xu, Schuyler S. Korban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A cluster of four receptor-like genes has been previously identified in the Vf locus of the crabapple Malus floribunda clone 821 that confers resistance to five races of the fungal pathogen Venturia inaequalis, the casual agent of apple scab disease. Pairwise comparisons of the four Vf paralogs in both promoter and coding regions reveal their timeline evolutionary history. The four Vf paralogs have evolved from four ancient Vf members resulting from two sequential duplication events of a single Vf progenitor initially present in the Malus genome. The coding sequences of the four Vf paralogs are characterized with high numbers of unique polymorphic nucleotides, a number of short duplications/deletions, various deletions of complete LRR copy units, and a casual insert of a transposon-like element. Significant high ratios of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions, Ka/Ks, are observed in the putative ligand binding residues in the LRR domains. No sequence exchange between the four Vf paralogs is observed. Compared with promoter regions, only nucleotide substitutions are dramatically elevated in the coding regions. The results presented in this study strongly indicate that the Vf locus is under strong and steady horizontal selective pressures imposed by the fungal pathogen V. inaequalis, and divergent selection on somatic variations plays a key role in shaping the resistance specificity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2004

Keywords

  • Apple
  • Disease resistance genes
  • Malus
  • R genes
  • Somatic variation
  • Woody perennial plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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