• Disease resistance;
  • fungal diseases;
  • Malus hupehensis;
  • salicylic acid;
  • systemic acquired resistance


Most commercially grown apple cultivars are susceptible to fungal diseases. Malus hupehensis has high resistance to many diseases affecting apple cultivars. Understanding innate defence mechanisms would help to develop disease-resistant apple crops. Non-expressor of pathogenesis-related genes 1 (NPR1) plays a key role in regulating salicylic acid (SA)-mediated systemic acquired resistance (SAR). MhNPR1 cDNA, corresponding to genomic DNA and its 5′ flanking sequences, was isolated from M. hupehensis. Sequence analysis showed that the regulatory mechanism for oligomer–monomer transition of the MhNPR1 protein in apple might be similar to that of GmNPR1 in soybean, but different from that of AtNPR1 in Arabidopsis. No significant differences in MhNPR1 expression were found in M. hupehensis after infection with Botryosphaeria berengeriana, showing that MhNPR1 might be regulated by pathogens at the protein level, as described for Arabidopsis and grapevine. SA treatment significantly induced MhNPR1 expression in leaves, stems and roots, while methyl jasmonate (MeJA) treatment induced MhNPR1 expression in roots, but not in leaves or stems. The expression of MhNPR1 was highly increased in roots, moderately in leaves, and did not change in stems after treatment with 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC). SAR marker genes (MhPR1 and MhPR5) were induced by SA, MeJA and ACC in leaves, stems and roots. Overexpression of MhNPR1 significantly induced the expression of pathogenesis-related genes (NtPR1, NtPR3 and NtPR5) in transgenic tobacco plants and resistance to the fungus Botrytis cinerea, suggesting that MhNPR1 orthologues are a component of the SA defence signalling pathway and SAR is induced in M. hupehensis.