Plants have evolved strategies and mechanisms to detect and respond to pathogen attack. Different organs of the same plant may be subjected to different environments (e.g., aboveground versus belowground) and pathogens with different lifestyles. Accordingly, plants commonly need to tailor defense strategies in an organ-specific manner. Phytophthora infestans, causal agent of potato late blight disease, infects both aboveground foliage and belowground tubers. We examined the efficacy of transgene RB (known for conferring foliar late blight resistance) in defending against tuber late blight disease. Our results indicate that the presence of the transgene has a positive yet only marginally significant effect on tuber disease resistance on average. However, a significant association between transgene transcript levels and tuber resistance was established for specific transformed lines in an age-dependent manner, with higher transcript levels indicating enhanced tuber resistance. Thus, RB has potential to function in both foliage and tuber to impart late blight resistance. Our data suggest that organ-specific resistance might result directly from transcriptional regulation of the resistance gene itself.
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© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society.