Genomic structure and evolution of the Pi2/9 locus in wild rice species
Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Jul;121(2):295-309. Epub 2010 Mar 14.
Rice blast, caused by the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae, is a devastating disease of rice worldwide. Among the 85 mapped resistance (R) genes against blast, 13 have been cloned and characterized. However, how these genes originated and how they evolved in the Oryza genus remains unclear. We previously cloned the rice blast R-genes Pi2, Pi9, and Piz-t, and analyzed their genomic structure and evolution in cultivated rice. In this study, we determined the genomic sequences of the Pi2/9 locus in four wild Oryza species representing three genomes (AA, BB and CC). The number of Pi2/9 family members in the four wild species ranges from two copies to 12 copies. Although these genes are conserved in structure and categorized into the same subfamily, sequence duplications and subsequent inversions or uneven crossing overs were observed, suggesting that the locus in different wild species has undergone dynamic changes. Positive selection was found in the leucine-rich repeat region of most members, especially in the largest clade where Pi9 is included. We also provide evidence that the Pi9 gene is more related to its homologues in the recurrent line and other rice cultivars than to those in its alleged donor species O. minuta, indicating a possible origin of the Pi9 gene from O. sativa. Comparative sequence analysis between the four wild Oryza species and the previously established reference sequences in cultivated rice species at the Pi2/9 locus has provided extensive and unique information on the genomic structure and evolution of a complex R-gene cluster in the Oryza genus.