Gene-for-gene relationship in the host–pathogen system Malus × robusta 5–Erwinia amylovora



  • Fire blight is a destructive bacterial disease caused by Erwinia amylovora affecting plants in the family Rosaceae, including apple. Host resistance to fire blight is present mainly in accessions of Malus spp. and is thought to be quantitative in this pathosystem.
  • In this study we analyzed the importance of the E. amylovora effector avrRpt2EA, a homolog of Pseudomonas syringae avrRpt2, for resistance of Malus × robusta 5 (Mr5).
  • The deletion mutant E. amylovora Ea1189ΔavrRpt2EA was able to overcome the fire blight resistance of Mr5. One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), resulting in an exchange of cysteine to serine in the encoded protein, was detected in avrRpt2EA of several Erwinia strains differing in virulence to Mr5. E. amylovora strains encoding serine (S-allele) were able to overcome resistance of Mr5, whereas strains encoding cysteine (C-allele) were not. Allele specificity was also observed in a coexpression assay with Arabidopsis thaliana RIN4 in Nicotiana benthamiana. A homolog of RIN4 has been detected and isolated in Mr5.
  • These results suggest a system similar to the interaction of RPS2 from A. thaliana and AvrRpt2 from P. syringae with RIN4 as guard. Our data are suggestive of a gene-for-gene relationship for the host–pathogen system Mr5 and E. amylovora.