Aflatoxin contamination in peanut is a serious food safety issue to human health around the world. Finding disease resistance genes is a key strategy for genetic improvement in breeding to deal with this issue. We identified an Aspergillus flavus-induced NBS-LRR gene, AhRAF4, using a microarray-based approach. By comparison of 23 sequences from three species using phytogenetics, protein secondary structure and three-dimensional structural analyses, AhRAF4 was revealed to be derived from Arachis duranensis by recombination, and has newly evolved into a family of several members, characterised by duplications and point mutations. However, the members of the family descended from A. ipaensis were lost following tetraploidisation. AhRAF4 was slightly up-regulated by low temperature, drought, salicylic acid and ethylene, but down-regulated by methyl jasmonate. The distinct responses upon As. flavus inoculation and the differential reactions between resistant and susceptible varieties indicate that AhRAF4 might play a role in defence responses. Temporal and spatial expression and the phenotype of transformed protoplasts suggest that AhRAF4 may also be associated with pericarp development. Because tetraploid cultivated peanuts are vulnerable to many pathogens, an exploration of R-genes may provide an effective method for genetic improvement of peanut cultivars.
Keywords: Aspergillus flavus; NBS-LRR gene; peanut; phylogenetic analysis.
© 2018 German Society for Plant Sciences and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.