RLP1.1, a novel wheat receptor-like protein gene, is involved in the defence response against Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici

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Stripe rust, caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst), is one of the most serious diseases of wheat; therefore, exploring effective resistance-related genes is critical for breeding and studying resistance mechanisms. However, only a few stripe rust resistance genes and defence-related genes have been cloned. Moreover, transgenic wheat with enhanced stripe rust resistance has rarely been reported. Receptor-like proteins (RLPs) are known to be involved in defence and developmental pathways. In this research, a novel RLP gene TaRLP1.1 was characterized as an important stripe rust defence gene. TaRLP1.1 was screened by GeneChip and was found to be induced by Pst specifically in the resistant variety. Knock down of TaRLP1.1 in the stripe rust-resistant plants resulted in increased susceptibility to Pst, and phenolic autofluorogen accumulation at the pathogen–host interaction sites, usually correlated with the hypersensitive response, was decreased dramatically. However, when the TaRLP1.1 gene was transformed into the susceptible wheat variety Yangmai158, the transgenic plants showed highly increased resistance to Pst, and the hypersensitive response was enhanced at the infection sites. Meanwhile, the expression of pathogenesis-related genes decreased in the TaRLP1.1-silenced plants and increased in the TaRLP1.1-overexpressing plants. Thus, it was proposed that TaRLP1.1 greatly contributed to the hypersensitive response during the pathogen–host interaction. Along with the functional analysis, an evolutionary study of the TaRLP1 family was performed. Characterization of TaRLP1.1 may facilitate breeding for stripe rust resistance and better understanding of the evolution of the RLP genes in wheat.

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