Molecular evolution of the rice blast resistance gene Pi-ta in invasive weedy rice in the USA

Seonghee Lee, Yulin Jia, Melissa Jia, David R. Gealy, Kenneth M. Olsen, Ana L. Caicedo

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37 Scopus citations


The Pi-ta gene in rice has been effectively used to control rice blast disease caused by Magnaporthe oryzae worldwide. Despite a number of studies that reported the Pi-ta gene in domesticated rice and wild species, little is known about how the Pi-ta gene has evolved in US weedy rice, a major weed of rice. To investigate the genome organization of the Pi-ta gene in weedy rice and its relationship to gene flow between cultivated and weedy rice in the US, we analyzed nucleotide sequence variation at the Pi-ta gene and its surrounding 2 Mb region in 156 weedy, domesticated and wild rice relatives. We found that the region at and around the Pi-ta gene shows very low genetic diversity in US weedy rice. The patterns of molecular diversity in weeds are more similar to cultivated rice (indica and aus), which have never been cultivated in the US, rather than the wild rice species, Oryza rufipogon. In addition, the resistant Pi-ta allele (Pi-ta) found in the majority of US weedy rice belongs to the weedy group strawhull awnless (SH), suggesting a single source of origin for Pi-ta. Weeds with Pi-ta were resistant to two M. oryzae races, IC17 and IB49, except for three accessions, suggesting that component(s) required for the Pi-ta mediated resistance may be missing in these accessions. Signatures of flanking sequences of the Pi-ta gene and SSR markers on chromosome 12 suggest that the susceptible pi-ta allele (pi-ta), not Pi-ta, has been introgressed from cultivated to weedy rice by out-crossing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26260
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 17 2011


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