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Silencing susceptibility genes in potato hinders primary infection of Phytophthora infestans at different stages.
Horticulture Research  (IF6.793),  Pub Date : 2022-01-19, DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhab058
Kaile Sun,Danny Schipper,Evert Jacobsen,Richard G F Visser,Francine Govers,Klaas Bouwmeester,Yuling Bai

Most potato cultivars are susceptible to late blight disease caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. A new source of resistance to prevent or diminish pathogen infection is found in the genetic loss of host susceptibility. Previously, we showed that RNAi-mediated silencing of the potato susceptibility (S) genes StDND1, StDMR1 and StDMR6 leads to increased late blight resistance. The mechanisms underlying this S-gene mediated resistance have thus far not been identified. In this study, we examined the infection process of P. infestans on StDND1-, StDMR1- and StDMR6-silenced potato lines. Microscopic analysis showed that penetration of P. infestans spores was hampered on StDND1-silenced plants. On StDMR1- and StDMR6-silenced plants, P. infestans infection was arrested at a primary infection stage by enhanced cell death responses. Histochemical staining revealed that StDMR1- and StDMR6-silenced plants display elevated ROS levels in cells at the infection sites. Resistance in StDND1-silenced plants, however, seems not to rely on a cell death response as ROS accumulation was found to be absent at most inoculated sites. Quantitative analysis of marker gene expression suggests that the increased resistance observed in StDND1- and StDMR6-silenced plants relies on an early onset of SA- and ET-mediated signalling pathways. Resistance mediated by silencing StDMR1 was found to be correlated with the early induction of SA-mediated signalling. These data provide evidence that different defense mechanisms are involved in late blight resistance mediated by functional impairment of different potato S-genes.