The barley immune receptor Mla recognizes multiple pathogens and contributes to host range dynamics

Jan Bettgenhaeuser, Inmaculada Hernández-Pinzón, Andrew M. Dawson, Matthew Gardiner, Phon Green, Jodie Taylor, Matthew Smoker, John N. Ferguson, Peter Emmrich, Amelia Hubbard, Rosemary Bayles, Robbie Waugh, Brian J. Steffenson, Brande B. H. Wulff, Antonín Dreiseitl, Eric R. Ward, Matthew J. Moscou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Crop losses caused by plant pathogens are a primary threat to stable food production. Stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis) is a fungal pathogen of cereal crops that causes significant, persistent yield loss. Stripe rust exhibits host species specificity, with lineages that have adapted to infect wheat and barley. While wheat stripe rust and barley stripe rust are commonly restricted to their corresponding hosts, the genes underlying this host specificity remain unknown. Here, we show that three resistance genes, Rps6, Rps7, and Rps8, contribute to immunity in barley to wheat stripe rust. Rps7 cosegregates with barley powdery mildew resistance at the Mla locus. Using transgenic complementation of different Mla alleles, we confirm allele-specific recognition of wheat stripe rust by Mla. Our results show that major resistance genes contribute to the host species specificity of wheat stripe rust on barley and that a shared genetic architecture underlies resistance to the adapted pathogen barley powdery mildew and non-adapted pathogen wheat stripe rust.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 25 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-30
Acknowledgements: The authors greatly appreciated valuable discussions with Peter van Esse, Jonathan Jones, Sophien Kamoun, Nick Talbot, and Cyril Zipfel. Photography was supported by Andrew Davis and Phil Robinson. Assistance in the greenhouse was provided by Sue Banfield and the John Innes Horticultural team. Seed was kindly provided by Andy Kleinhofs, Rients Niks, Ralph Panstruga, Mapi Valles, Wolfgang Spielmeyer, Nils Stein, Wendy Harwood, Wheat Genetics Resource Center (Kansas State University), Patrick Hayes, Kazuhiro Sato, Roger Wise, and the National Small Grains Collection (USDA-ARS). Funding for this research includes Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Programme (grant no. BB/F017294/1 to J.B. and M.J.M.) and Institute Strategic Programme (grant no. BB/J004553/1 to B.B.H.W., BB/P012574/1 to M.J.M., and BBS/E/J/000PR9795 to M.J.M.), Human Frontier Science Program Long-term Fellowship (grant no. LT000218/2011-L to M.J.M.), John Innes Foundation (rotation PhD studentship to PE), 2Blades Foundation, and Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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