A pathogen-induced putative NAC transcription factor mediates leaf rust resistance in barley

Chen Ch., Jost M., Outram M.A., Friendship D., Chen J., Wang A., Periyannan S., Bartoš J., Holušová K., Doležel J., Zhang P., Bhatt D., Singh D., Lagudah E., Park R.F., Dracatos P.M.

Abstract: Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia hordei, is one of the most widespread and damaging foliar diseases affecting barley. The barley leaf rust resistance locus Rph7 has been shown to have unusually high sequence and haplotype divergence. In this study, we isolate the Rph7 gene using a fine mapping and RNASeq approach that is confirmed by mutational analysis and transgenic complementation. Rph7 is a pathogen-induced, non-canonical resistance gene encoding a protein that is distinct from other known plant disease resistance proteins in the Triticeae. Structural analysis using an AlphaFold2 protein model suggests that Rph7 encodes a putative NAC transcription factor with a zinc-finger BED domain with structural similarity to the N-terminal DNAbinding domain of the NAC transcription factor (ANAC019) from Arabidopsis. A global gene expression analysis suggests Rph7 mediates the activation and strength of the basal defence response. The isolation of Rph7 highlights the diversification of resistance mechanisms available for engineering disease control in crops.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-41021-2
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IEB authors: Jan Bartoš, Jaroslav Doležel, Kateřina Holušová