Author(s): Suxian Zhu, Ying Li, Jack H Vossen, Richard G F Visser, Evert Jacobsen
Functional stacking of broad spectrum resistance (R) genes could potentially be an effective strategy for more durable disease resistance, for example, to potato late blight caused by Phytophthora infestans (Pi). For this reason, three broad spectrum potato R genes (Rpi), Rpi-sto1 (Solanum stoloniferum), Rpi-vnt1.1 (S. venturii) and Rpi-blb3 (S. bulbocastanum) were selected, combined into a single binary vector pBINPLUS and transformed into the susceptible cultivar Desiree. Among the 550 kanamycin resistant regenerants, 28 were further investigated by gene specific PCRs. All regenerants were positive for the nptII gene and 23 of them contained the three Rpi genes, referred to as triple Rpi gene transformants. Detached leaf assay and agro-infiltration of avirulence (Avr) genes showed that the 23 triple Rpi gene transformants were resistant to the selected isolates and showed HR with the three Avr effectors indicating functional stacking of all the three Rpi genes. It is concluded that Avr genes, corresponding to the R genes to be stacked, must be available in order to assay for functionality of each stack component. No indications were found for silencing or any other negative effects affecting the function of the inserted Rpi genes. The resistance spectrum of these 23 triple Rpi gene transformants was, as expected, a sum of the spectra from the three individual Rpi genes. This is the first example of a one-step approach for the simultaneous domestication of three natural R genes against a single disease by genetic transformation.