Plants have evolved hundreds of nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich domain proteins (NLRs) as potential intracellular immune receptors, but the evolutionary mechanism leading to the ability to recognize specific pathogen effectors is elusive. Here, we cloned Pvr4 (a Potyvirus resistance gene in Capsicum annuum) and Tsw (a Tomato spotted wilt virus resistance gene in Capsicum chinense) via a genome-based approach using independent segregating populations. The genes both encode typical NLRs and are located at the same locus on pepper chromosome 10. Despite the fact that these two genes recognize completely different viral effectors, the genomic structures and coding sequences of the two genes are strikingly similar. Phylogenetic studies revealed that these two immune receptors diverged from a progenitor gene of a common ancestor. Our results suggest that sequence variations caused by gene duplication and neofunctionalization may underlie the evolution of the ability to specifically recognize different effectors. These findings thereby provide insight into the divergent evolution of plant immune receptors.© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.
Journal: The New phytologist