Engineering fire blight resistance into the apple cultivar 'Gala' using the FB_MR5 CC-NBS-LRR resistance gene of Malus × robusta 5 Giovanni

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (). Engineering fire blight resistance into the apple cultivar 'Gala' using the FB_MR5 CC-NBS-LRR resistance gene of Malus × robusta 5 Giovanni. Plant Biotechnology Journal, DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12177 Peer reviewed.

The fire blight susceptible apple cultivar Malus × domestica Borkh. cv. ‘Gala’ was transformed with the candidate fire blight resistance gene FB_MR5 originating from the crab apple accession Malus × robusta 5 (Mr5). A total of five different transgenic lines were obtained. All transgenic lines were shown to be stably transformed and originate from different transgenic events. The transgenic lines express the FB_MR5 either driven by the constitutive CaMV 35S promoter and the ocs terminator or by its native promoter and terminator sequences. Phenotyping experiments were performed with Mr5-virulent and Mr5-avirulent strains of Erwinia amylovora, the causal agent of fire blight. Significantly less disease symptoms were detected on transgenic lines after inoculation with two different Mr5-avirulent E. amylovora strains, while significantly more shoot necrosis was observed after inoculation with the Mr5-virulent mutant strain ZYRKD3_1. The results of these experiments demonstrated the ability of a single gene isolated from the native gene pool of apple to protect a susceptible cultivar from fire blight. Furthermore, this gene is confirmed to be the resistance determinant of Mr5 as the transformed lines undergo the same gene-for-gene interaction in the host–pathogen relationship Mr5–E. amylovora.