Identification of distinct quantitative trait loci associated with defense against the closely related aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum and A. kondoi in Medicago truncatula
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Aphids are a major family of plant insect pests. Medicago truncatula and Acyrthosiphon pisum (pea aphid, PA) are model species with a suite of resources available to help dissect the mechanism underlying plant–aphid interactions. A previous study focused on monogenic and relatively strong resistance in M. truncatula to PA and other aphid species. In this study a moderate resistance to PA was characterized in detail in the M. truncatula line A17 and compared with the highly susceptible line A20 and the more resistant line Jester. The results show that PA resistance in A17 involves both antibiosis and tolerance, and that resistance is phloem based. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using a recombinant inbred line (RIL) population (n=114) from a cross between A17 and A20 revealed that one locus, which co-segregated with AIN (Acyrthosiphon-induced necrosis) on chromosome 3, is responsible for the reduction of aphid biomass (indicator of antibiosis) for both PA and bluegreen aphid (BGA, A. kondoi), albeit to a lesser degree for PA than BGA. Interestingly, two independent loci on chromosomes 5 and 3 were identified for the plant biomass reduction (indicator of plant tolerance) by PA and BGA, respectively, demonstrating that the plant’s tolerance response to these two closely related aphid species is distinct. Together with previously identified major resistant (R) genes, the QTLs identified in this study are powerful tools to understand fully the spectrum of plant defence against sap-sucking insects and provide opportunities for breeders to generate effective and sustainable strategies for aphid control.
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