A molecular genetic approach was used to identify and characterize plant genes that control bacterial disease resistance in Arabidopsis. A screen for mutants with altered resistance to the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst) expressing the avirulence gene avrRpt2 resulted in the isolation of four susceptible rps (resistance to P. syringae) mutants. The rps mutants lost resistance specifically to bacterial strains expressing avrRpt2 as they retained resistance to Pst strains expressing the avirulence genes avrB or avrRpm1. Genetic analysis indicated that in each of the four rps mutants, susceptibility was due to a single mutation mapping to the same locus on chromosome 4. Identification of a resistance locus with specificity for a single bacterial avirulence gene suggests that this locus, designated RPS2, controls specific recognition of bacteria expressing the avirulence gene avrRpt2. Ecotype Wü-0, a naturally occurring line that is susceptible to Pst strains expressing avrRpt2, appears to lack a functional allele at RPS2, demonstrating that there is natural variation at the RPS2 locus among wild populations of Arabidopsis.
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