Agroinfiltration is a versatile tool that facilitates comparative analyses of Avr9/Cf-9-induced and Avr4/Cf-4-induced necrosis.
Van der Hoorn RA., Laurent F., Roth R., De Wit PJ.
The avirulence genes Avr9 and Avr4 from the fungal tomato pathogen Cladosporium fulvum encode extracellular proteins that elicit a hypersensitive response when injected into leaves of tomato plants carrying the matching resistance genes, Cf-9 and Cf-4, respectively. We successfully expressed both Avr9 and Avr4 genes in tobacco with the Agrobacterium tumefaciens transient transformation assay (agroinfiltration). In addition, we expressed the matching resistance genes, Cf-9 and Cf-4, through agroinfiltration. By combining transient Cf gene expression with either transgenic plants expressing one of the gene partners, Potato virus X (PVX)-mediated Avr gene expression, or elicitor injections, we demonstrated that agroinfiltration is a reliable and versatile tool to study Avr/Cf-mediated recognition. Significantly, agroinfiltration can be used to quantify and compare Avr/Cf-induced responses. Comparison of different Avr/Cf-interactions within one tobacco leaf showed that Avr9/Cf-9-induced necrosis developed slower than necrosis induced by Avr4/Cf-4. Quantitative analysis demonstrated that this temporal difference was due to a difference in Avr gene activities. Transient expression of matching Avr/Cf gene pairs in a number of plant families indicated that the signal transduction pathway required for Avr/Cf-induced responses is conserved within solanaceous species. Most non-solanaceous species did not develop specific Avr/Cf-induced responses. However, co-expression of the Avr4/Cf-4 gene pair in lettuce resulted in necrosis, providing the first proof that a resistance (R) gene can function in a different plant family.