Mi-1-Mediated Nematode Resistance in Tomatoes is Broken by Short-Term Heat Stress but Recovers Over Time

Luciana Marques de Carvalho, Nicole D. Benda, Martha M. Vaughan, Ana R. Cabrera, Kaddie Hung, Thomas Cox, Zaid Abdo, L. Hartwell Allen, Peter E. A. Teal

Abstract


Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is among the most valuable agricultural products, but Meloidogyne spp. (root-knot nematode) infestations result in serious crop losses. In tomato, resistance to root-knot nematodes is controlled by the gene Mi-1, but heat stress interferes with Mi-1-associated resistance. Inconsistent results in published field and greenhouse experiments led us to test the effect of short-term midday heat stress on tomato susceptibility to Meloidogyne incognita race 1. Under controlled day/night temperatures of 258C/218C, ‘Amelia’, which was verified as possessing the Mi-1 gene, was deemed resistant (4.1 ± 0.4 galls/plant) and Rutgers, which does not possess the Mi-1 gene, was susceptible (132 ± 9.9 galls/plant) to M. incognita infection. Exposure to a single 3 hr heat spike of 358C was sufficient to increase the susceptibility of ‘Amelia’ but did not affect Rutgers. Despite this change in resistance, Mi-1 gene expression was not affected by heat treatment, or nematode infection. The heat-induced breakdown of Mi-1 resistance in ‘Amelia’ did recover with time regardless of additional heat exposures and M. incognita infection. These findings would aid in the development of management strategies to protect the tomato crop at times of heightened M. incognita susceptibility.

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