A genome-wide survey reveals abundant rice blast R genes in resistant cultivars

Xiaohui Zhang, Sihai Yang, Jiao Wang, Yanxiao Jia, Ju Huang, Shengjun Tan, Yan Zhong, Ling Wang, Longjiang Gu, Jian Qun Chen, Qinghua Pan, Joy Bergelson, Dacheng Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plant resistance genes (R genes) harbor tremendous allelic diversity, constituting a robust immune system effective against microbial pathogens. Nevertheless, few functional R genes have been identified for even the best-studied pathosystems. Does this limited repertoire reflect specificity, with most R genes having been defeated by former pests, or do plants harbor a rich diversity of functional R genes, the composite behavior of which is yet to be characterized? Here, we survey 332 NBS-LRR genes cloned from five resistant Oryza sativa (rice) cultivars for their ability to confer recognition of 12 rice blast isolates when transformed into susceptible cultivars. Our survey reveals that 48.5% of the 132 NBS-LRR loci tested contain functional rice blast R genes, with most R genes deriving from multi-copy clades containing especially diversified loci. Each R gene recognized, on average, 2.42 of the 12 isolates screened. The abundant R genes identified in resistant genomes provide extraordinary redundancy in the ability of host genotypes to recognize particular isolates. If the same is true for other pathogens, many extant NBS-LRR genes retain functionality. Our success at identifying rice blast R genes also validates a highly efficient cloning and screening strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Magnaporthe oryzae
  • Oryza sativa
  • genome-wide survey
  • plant resistance genes
  • rice blast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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