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The eggplant AG91-25 recognizes the Type III-secreted effector RipAX2 to trigger resistance to bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum species complex)

Morel A., Guinard J., Lonjon F., Sujeeun L., Barberis P., Genin S., Vailleau F., Daunay M.C., Dintinger J., Poussier S., Peeters N., Wicker E.. 2018. Molecular Plant Pathology, 19 (11) : p. 2459-2472.

DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12724

To deploy durable plant resistance, we must understand its underlying molecular mechanisms. Type III effectors (T3Es) and their recognition play a central role in the interaction between bacterial pathogens and crops. We demonstrate that the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex (RSSC) T3E ripAX2 triggers specific resistance in eggplant AG91-25, which carries the major resistance locus EBWR9. The eggplant accession AG91-25 is resistant to the wild-type R. pseudosolanacearum strain GMI1000, whereas a ripAX2 defective mutant of this strain can cause wilt. Notably, the addition of ripAX2 from GMI1000 to PSS4 suppresses wilt development, demonstrating that RipAX2 is an elicitor of AG91-25 resistance. RipAX2 has been shown previously to induce effector-triggered immunity (ETI) in the wild relative eggplant Solanum torvum, and its putative zinc (Zn)-binding motif (HELIH) is critical for ETI. We show that, in our model, the HELIH motif is not necessary for ETI on AG91-25 eggplant. The ripAX2 gene was present in 68.1% of 91 screened RSSC strains, but in only 31.1% of a 74-genome collection comprising R. solanacearum and R. syzygii strains. Overall, it is preferentially associated with R. pseudosolanacearum phylotype I. RipAX2GMI1000 appears to be the dominant allele, prevalent in both R. pseudosolanacearum and R. solanacearum, suggesting that the deployment of AG91-25 resistance could control efficiently bacterial wilt in the Asian, African and American tropics. This study advances the understanding of the interaction between RipAX2 and the resistance genes at the EBWR9 locus, and paves the way for both functional genetics and evolutionary analyses.

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