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Strain Specific Factors Control Effector Gene Silencing in Phytophthora sojae.

Shrestha, S.D., Chapman, P., Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., and Gijzen, M. (2016). "Strain Specific Factors Control Effector Gene Silencing in Phytophthora sojae.", PLoS ONE, pp. 1-22. doi : 10.1371/journal.pone.0150530  Access to full text


The Phytophthora sojae avirulence gene Avr3a encodes an effector that is capable of triggering immunity on soybean plants carrying the resistance gene Rps3a. P. sojae strains that expressAvr3a are avirulent to Rps3a plants, while strains that do not are virulent. To study the inheritance of Avr3a expression and virulence towards Rps3a, genetic crosses and self-fertilizations were performed. A cross between P. sojae strains ACR10 X P7076 causes transgenerational gene silencing of Avr3a allele, and this effect is meiotically stable up to the F5generation. However, test-crosses of F1 progeny (ACR10 X P7076) with strain P6497 result in the release of silencing of Avr3a. Expression of Avr3a in the progeny is variable and correlates with the phenotypic penetrance of the avirulence trait. The F1 progeny from a direct cross of P6497 X ACR10 segregate for inheritance for Avr3a expression, a result that could not be explained by parental imprinting or heterozygosity. Analysis of small RNA arising from the Avr3a gene sequence in the parental strains and hybrid progeny suggests that the presence of small RNA is necessary but not sufficient for gene silencing. Overall, we conclude that inheritance of the Avr3a gene silenced phenotype relies on factors that are variable among P. sojae strains.

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