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Positive selection and intragenic recombination contribute to high allelic diversity in effector genes of Mycosphaerella fijiensis, causal agent of the black leaf streak disease of banana.

  • Author(s): Stergiopoulos, Ioannis
  • Cordovez, Viviane
  • Okmen, Bilal
  • Beenen, Henriek G
  • Kema, Gert HJ
  • de Wit, Pierre JGM
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12104
Abstract

Previously, we have determined the nonhost-mediated recognition of the MfAvr4 and MfEcp2 effector proteins from the banana pathogen Mycosphaerella fijiensis in tomato, by the cognate Cf-4 and Cf-Ecp2 resistance proteins, respectively. These two resistance proteins could thus mediate resistance against M. fijiensis if genetically transformed into banana (Musa spp.). However, disease resistance controlled by single dominant genes can be overcome by mutated effector alleles, whose products are not recognized by the cognate resistance proteins. Here, we surveyed the allelic variation within the MfAvr4, MfEcp2, MfEcp2-2 and MfEcp2-3 effector genes of M. fijiensis in a global population of the pathogen, and assayed its impact on recognition by the tomato Cf-4 and Cf-Ecp2 resistance proteins, respectively. We identified a large number of polymorphisms that could reflect a co-evolutionary arms race between host and pathogen. The analysis of nucleotide substitution patterns suggests that both positive selection and intragenic recombination have shaped the evolution of M. fijiensis effectors. Clear differences in allelic diversity were observed between strains originating from South-East Asia relative to strains from other banana-producing continents, consistent with the hypothesis that M. fijiensis originated in the Asian-Pacific region. Furthermore, transient co-expression of the MfAvr4 effector alleles and the tomato Cf-4 resistance gene, as well as of MfEcp2, MfEcp2-2 and MfEcp2-3 and the putative Cf-Ecp2 resistance gene, indicated that effector alleles able to overcome these resistance genes are already present in natural populations of the pathogen, thus questioning the durability of resistance that can be provided by these genes in the field.

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