Recessive resistance to plant viruses

Adv Virus Res. 2009;75:119-59. doi: 10.1016/S0065-3527(09)07504-6. Epub 2010 Jan 13.


About half of the approximately 200 known virus resistance genes in plants are recessively inherited, suggesting that this form of resistance is more common for viruses than for other plant pathogens. The use of such genes is therefore a very important tool in breeding programs to control plant diseases caused by pathogenic viruses. Over the last few years, the detailed analysis of many host/virus combinations has substantially advanced basic research on recessive resistance mechanisms in crop species. This type of resistance is preferentially expressed in protoplasts and inoculated leaves, influencing virus multiplication at the single-cell level as well as cell-to-cell movement. Importantly, a growing number of recessive resistance genes have been cloned from crop species, and further analysis has shown them all to encode translation initiation factors of the 4E (eIF4E) and 4G (eIF4G) families. However, not all of the loss-of-susceptibility mutants identified in collections of mutagenized hosts correspond to mutations in eIF4E and eIF4G. This, together with other supporting data, suggests that more extensive characterization of the natural variability of resistance genes may identify new host factors conferring recessive resistance. In this chapter, we discuss the recent work carried out to characterize loss-of-susceptibility and recessive resistance genes in crop and model species. We review actual and probable recessive resistance mechanisms, and bring the chapter to a close by summarizing the current state-of-the-art and offering perspectives on potential future developments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Crops, Agricultural / immunology
  • Crops, Agricultural / virology
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E / chemistry
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E / physiology
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors / genetics
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Plant Diseases / genetics*
  • Plant Diseases / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / virology*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Plant Viruses / pathogenicity*
  • Plant Viruses / physiology
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / immunology
  • Plants / virology*
  • Potyvirus / pathogenicity
  • Potyvirus / physiology
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Viral Proteins / physiology
  • Virus Replication


  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4E
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Plant Proteins
  • Viral Proteins