Cladosporium Fulvum Overcomes Cf-2-mediated Resistance by Producing Truncated AVR2 Elicitor Proteins

Mol Microbiol. 2002 Aug;45(3):875-84. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2002.03060.x.


The Cf-2 gene of tomato confers resistance to strains of the biotrophic pathogenic fungus Cladosporium fulvum carrying avirulence gene Avr2. To allow dissection of the biochemical mechanism of perception of AVR2 by Cf-2, we set out to clone the Avr2 gene. Here, we report the functional cloning of Avr2 cDNA, based on the induction of a hypersensitive response (HR) by the encoded AVR2 protein in Cf2 tomato plants. Analysis of strains of C. fulvum that are virulent on Cf2 tomato lines revealed various independent frameshift mutations in the Avr2 open reading frame (ORF) and a point mutation resulting in a premature stop codon. All modifications result in the production of truncated AVR2 proteins. Interestingly, an additional modification involves the insertion of a LINE-like element, Cfl1, in the Avr2 ORF. Cfl1 is the first LINE-like element identified in C. fulvum and provides the first example of loss of avirulence of a plant pathogen caused by insertion of a retrotransposable element in an Avr gene. Rcr3 represents an additional plant protein that is specifically required for Cf-2-mediated resistance. Analysis of two different rcr3 mutant Cf2 tomato plants revealed that their ability to respond to AVR2 with a HR correlates with their degree of resistance to AVR2-producing strains of C. fulvum. These data support a role for Rcr3 in the perception of AVR2 by Cf-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cladosporium / genetics
  • Cladosporium / pathogenicity*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology*
  • Genomic Library
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / genetics
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / metabolism
  • Lycopersicon esculentum / microbiology*
  • Mutation
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Virulence / genetics


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Plant Proteins