In tomato, Verticillium resistance is determined by the Ve gene locus, which encodes two leucine-rich repeat-receptor-like proteins (Ve1, Ve2); the Ve1 gene is induced differentially while Ve2 is constitutively expressed throughout disease development. These profiles have been observed even during compatible Verticillium interactions, colonization by some bacterial pathogens, and growth of transgenic tomato plants expressing the fungal Ave1 effector, suggesting broader roles in disease and/or stress.
A new study examined further Ve gene expression in resistant and susceptible plants under abiotic stress, including a water deficit, salinity and physical damage. Using both quantitative RT-PCR and label-free LC–MS methods, changes have been evaluated at both the mRNA and protein levels.
The results indicate that Ve1 gene expression responds specifically to physical damage or plant wounding, resulting in a defense/stress cascade that resembles observations during Verticillium colonization. In addition, the elimination or reduction of Ve1 or Ve2 gene function also result in proteomic responses that occur with wilt pathogen and continue to be consistent with an antagonistic relationship between the two genes. Mutational analyses also indicate the plant wounding hormone, systemin, is not required, while jasmonic acid again appears to play a direct role in induction of the Ve1 gene.