IJMS, Vol. 20, Pages 902: Genome-Wide Characterization of NBS-Encoding Genes in Watermelon and Their Potential Association with Gummy Stem Blight Resistance (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a nutritionally rich and economically important horticultural crop of the Cucurbitaceae family. Gummy stem blight (GSB) is a major disease of watermelon, which is caused by the fungus Didymella bryoniae, and results in substantial economic losses in terms of yield and quality. However, only a few molecular studies have focused on GSB resistance in watermelon. Nucleotide binding site (NBS)-encoding resistance (R) genes play important roles in plant defense responses to several pathogens, but little is known about the role of NBS-encoding genes in disease resistance in watermelon. The analyzed NBS-encoding R genes comprises several domains, including Toll/interleukin-1 receptor(TIR), NBS, leucine-rich repeat (LRR), resistance to powdery mildew8(RPW8) and coiled coil (CC), which are known to be involved in disease resistance. We determined the expression patterns of these R genes in resistant and susceptible watermelon lines at different time points after D. bryoniae infection by quantitative RT-PCR. The R genes exhibited various expression patterns in the resistant watermelon compared to the susceptible watermelon. Only six R genes exhibited consistent expression patterns (Cla001821, Cla019863, Cla020705, Cla012430, Cla012433 and Cla012439), which were higher in the resistant line compared to the susceptible line. Our study provides fundamental insights into the NBS-LRR gene family in watermelon in response to D. bryoniae infection. Further functional studies of these six candidate resistance genes should help to advance breeding programs aimed at improving disease resistance in watermelons.