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Accession IconSRP124841

Global transcriptome of Arabidopsis thaliana and Solanum lycopersicum infected by S. sclerotiorum

Organism Icon Arabidopsis thaliana
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Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2500

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Plant pathogens with a broad host range are able to infect plant lineages that diverged over 100 million years ago. They exert similar and recurring constraints on the evolution of unrelated plant populations. Plants generally respond with quantitative disease resistance (QDR), a form of immunity relying on complex genetic determinants. In most cases, the molecular determinants of QDR and how they evolve is unknown. Here we identify in Arabidopsis thaliana a gene mediating QDR against Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, agent of the white mold disease, and provide evidence of its convergent evolution in multiple plant species. Using genome wide association mapping in A. thaliana, we associated the gene encoding the POQR prolyl-oligopeptidase with QDR against S. sclerotiorum. Loss of this gene compromised QDR against S. sclerotiorum but not against a bacterial pathogen. Natural diversity analysis associated POQR sequence with QDR. Remarkably, the same amino acid changes occurred after independent duplications of POQR in ancestors of multiple plant species, including A. thaliana and tomato. Genome-scale expression analyses revealed that parallel divergence in gene expression upon S. sclerotiorum infection is a frequent pattern in genes, such as POQR, that duplicated both in A. thaliana and tomato. Our study identifies a previously uncharacterized gene mediating QDR against S. sclerotiorum. It shows that some QDR determinants are conserved in distantly related plants and have emerged through the repeated use of similar genetic polymorphisms at different evolutionary time scales. Overall design: mature leaves inoculated or not by the fungus, three independent replicates
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