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The Cf-4 and Cf-9 Resistance Genes Against Cladosporium fulvum are Conserved in Wild Tomato Species

    Authors and Affiliations
    • Marco Kruijt
    • Diana J. Kip
    • Matthieu H. A. J. Joosten
    • Bas F. Brandwagt
    • Pierre J. G. M. de Wit

      Published Online:

      The Cf-4 and Cf-9 genes originate from the wild tomato species Lycopersicon hirsutum and L. pimpinellifolium and confer resistance to strains of the leaf mold fungus Cladosporium fulvum that secrete the Avr4 and Avr9 elicitor proteins, respectively. Homologs of Cf-4 and Cf-9 (Hcr9s) are located in several clusters and evolve mainly through sequence exchange between homologs. To study the evolution of Cf genes, we set out to identify functional Hcr9s that mediate recognition of Avr4 and Avr9 (designated Hcr9-Avr4s and Hcr9-Avr9s) in all wild tomato species. Plants responsive to the Avr4 and Avr9 elicitor proteins were identified throughout the genus Lycopersicon. Open reading frames of Hcr9s from Avr4- and Avr9-responsive tomato plants were polymerase chain reaction-amplified. Several Hcr9s that mediate Avr4 or Avr9 recognition were identified in diverged tomato species by agroinfiltration assays. These Hcr9-Avr4s and Hcr9-Avr9s are highly identical to Cf-4 and Cf-9, respectively. Therefore, we conclude that both Cf-4 and Cf-9 predate Lycopersicon speciation. These results further suggest that C. fulvum is an ancient pathogen of the genus Lycopersicon, in which Cf-4 and Cf-9 have been maintained by selection pressure imposed by C. fulvum.