Detection of the virulent form of AVR3a from Phytophthora infestans following artificial evolution of potato resistance gene R3a

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 23;9(10):e110158. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110158. eCollection 2014.


Engineering resistance genes to gain effector recognition is emerging as an important step in attaining broad, durable resistance. We engineered potato resistance gene R3a to gain recognition of the virulent AVR3aEM effector form of Phytophthora infestans. Random mutagenesis, gene shuffling and site-directed mutagenesis of R3a were conducted to produce R3a* variants with gain of recognition towards AVR3aEM. Programmed cell death following gain of recognition was enhanced in iterative rounds of artificial evolution and neared levels observed for recognition of AVR3aKI by R3a. We demonstrated that R3a*-mediated recognition responses, like for R3a, are dependent on SGT1 and HSP90. In addition, this gain of response is associated with re-localisation of R3a* variants from the cytoplasm to late endosomes when co-expressed with either AVR3aKI or AVR3aEM a mechanism that was previously only seen for R3a upon co-infiltration with AVR3aKI. Similarly, AVR3aEM specifically re-localised to the same vesicles upon recognition by R3a* variants, but not with R3a. R3a and R3a* provide resistance to P. infestans isolates expressing AVR3aKI but not those homozygous for AVR3aEM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agrobacterium / physiology
  • Apoptosis
  • DNA Shuffling
  • Directed Molecular Evolution*
  • Disease Resistance / genetics*
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Homozygote
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phytophthora infestans / isolation & purification
  • Phytophthora infestans / metabolism*
  • Phytophthora infestans / pathogenicity*
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Solanum tuberosum / genetics*
  • Solanum tuberosum / microbiology*
  • Virulence
  • Virulence Factors


  • AVR3a protein, Phytophthora infestans
  • Plant Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Virulence Factors