PloS one

Novel Mutations Detected in Avirulence Genes Overcoming Tomato Cf Resistance Genes in Isolates of a Japanese Population of Cladosporium fulvum.

PMID 25902074


Leaf mold of tomato is caused by the biotrophic fungus Cladosporium fulvum which complies with the gene-for-gene system. The disease was first reported in Japan in the 1920s and has since been frequently observed. Initially only race 0 isolates were reported, but since the consecutive introduction of resistance genes Cf-2, Cf-4, Cf-5 and Cf-9 new races have evolved. Here we first determined the virulence spectrum of 133 C. fulvum isolates collected from 22 prefectures in Japan, and subsequently sequenced the avirulence (Avr) genes Avr2, Avr4, Avr4E, Avr5 and Avr9 to determine the molecular basis of overcoming Cf genes. Twelve races of C. fulvum with a different virulence spectrum were identified, of which races 9, 2.9, 4.9, 4.5.9 and 4.9.11 occur only in Japan. The Avr genes in many of these races contain unique mutations not observed in races identified elsewhere in the world including (i) frameshift mutations and (ii) transposon insertions in Avr2, (iii) point mutations in Avr4 and Avr4E, and (iv) deletions of Avr4E, Avr5 and Avr9. New races have developed by selection pressure imposed by consecutive introductions of Cf-2, Cf-4, Cf-5 and Cf-9 genes in commercially grown tomato cultivars. Our study shows that molecular variations to adapt to different Cf genes in an isolated C. fulvum population in Japan are novel but overall follow similar patterns as those observed in populations from other parts of the world. Implications for breeding of more durable C. fulvum resistant varieties are discussed.