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RCT1 is a TIR-NBS-LRR-type resistance (R) gene in Medicago truncatula that confers resistance to multiple races of Colletotrichum trifolii, a hemi-biotrophic fungal pathogen that causes anthracnose disease in Medicago and other closely related legumes. RCT1 undergoes alternative splicing at both coding and 3'-untranslated regions, thereby producing multiple transcript variants in its expression profile. Alternative splicing of RCT1 in the coding region results from the retention of intron 4. Because intron 4 lies downstream of the LRR-encoding exons and contains an in-frame stop codon, the alternative transcript is predicted to encode a truncated protein consisting of the entire portion of the TIR, NBS, and LRR domains but lacks the C-terminal domain of the full-length RCT1 protein encoded by the regular transcript. Here we provide evidence that the RCT1-mediated disease resistance requires the combined presence of the regular and alternative transcripts. Neither the regular nor the alternative RCT1 transcript alone is sufficient to confer resistance against the pathogen. This study, in addition to the reports on the tobacco N and Arabidopsis RPS4 genes, adds another significant example showing the involvement of alternative splicing in R gene-mediated plant immunity.


Fang Tang, Shengming Yang, Muqiang Gao, Hongyan Zhu. Alternative splicing is required for RCT1-mediated disease resistance in Medicago truncatula. Plant molecular biology. 2013 Jul;82(4-5):367-74

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PMID: 23657790

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