September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular characterization of NBS-LRR genes in the soybean Rsv3 locus reveals several divergent alleles that likely confer resistance to the soybean mosaic virus.

The divergence patterns of NBS – LRR genes in soybean Rsv3 locus were deciphered and several divergent alleles ( NBS_C, NBS_D and Columbia NBS_E ) were identified as the likely functional candidates of Rsv3. The soybean Rsv3 locus, which confers resistance to the soybean mosaic virus (SMV), has been previously mapped to a region containing five nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeats (NBS-LRR) genes (referred to as nbs_A-E) in Williams 82. In resistant cultivars, however, the number of NBS-LRR genes in this region and their divergence from susceptible alleles remain unclear. In the present study, we constructed and screened a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library for an Rsv3-possessing cultivar, Zaoshu 18. Sequencing two positive BAC inserts on the Rsv3 locus revealed that Zaoshu 18 possesses the same gene content and order as Williams 82, but two of the NBS-LRR genes, NBS_C and NBS_D, exhibit distinct features that were not observed in the Williams 82 alleles. Obtaining these NBS-LRR genes from eight additional cultivars demonstrated that the NBS_A-D genes diverged into two different alleles: the nbs_A-D alleles were associated with the rsv3-type cultivars, whereas the NBS_A-D alleles were associated with the Rsv3-possessing cultivars. For the NBS_E gene, the cultivar Columbia possesses an allele (NBS_E) that differed from that in Zaoshu 18 and rsv3-type cultivars (nbs_E). Exchanged fragments were further detected on alleles of the NBS_C-E genes, suggesting that recombination is a major force responsible for allele divergence. Also, the LRR domains of the NBS_C-E genes exhibited extremely strong signals of positive selection. Overall, the divergence patterns of the NBS-LRR genes in Rsv3 locus elucidated by this study indicate that not only NBS_C but also NBS_D and Columbia NBS_E are likely functional alleles that confer resistance to SMV.


July 7, 2019  |  

Recombination rate heterogeneity within Arabidopsis disease resistance genes.

Meiotic crossover frequency varies extensively along chromosomes and is typically concentrated in hotspots. As recombination increases genetic diversity, hotspots are predicted to occur at immunity genes, where variation may be beneficial. A major component of plant immunity is recognition of pathogen Avirulence (Avr) effectors by resistance (R) genes that encode NBS-LRR domain proteins. Therefore, we sought to test whether NBS-LRR genes would overlap with meiotic crossover hotspots using experimental genetics in Arabidopsis thaliana. NBS-LRR genes tend to physically cluster in plant genomes; for example, in Arabidopsis most are located in large clusters on the south arms of chromosomes 1 and 5. We experimentally mapped 1,439 crossovers within these clusters and observed NBS-LRR gene associated hotspots, which were also detected as historical hotspots via analysis of linkage disequilibrium. However, we also observed NBS-LRR gene coldspots, which in some cases correlate with structural heterozygosity. To study recombination at the fine-scale we used high-throughput sequencing to analyze ~1,000 crossovers within the RESISTANCE TO ALBUGO CANDIDA1 (RAC1) R gene hotspot. This revealed elevated intragenic crossovers, overlapping nucleosome-occupied exons that encode the TIR, NBS and LRR domains. The highest RAC1 recombination frequency was promoter-proximal and overlapped CTT-repeat DNA sequence motifs, which have previously been associated with plant crossover hotspots. Additionally, we show a significant influence of natural genetic variation on NBS-LRR cluster recombination rates, using crosses between Arabidopsis ecotypes. In conclusion, we show that a subset of NBS-LRR genes are strong hotspots, whereas others are coldspots. This reveals a complex recombination landscape in Arabidopsis NBS-LRR genes, which we propose results from varying coevolutionary pressures exerted by host-pathogen relationships, and is influenced by structural heterozygosity.


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