A single-nucleotide polymorphism that accounts for allelic variation in the Lr34 gene and leaf rust reaction in hard winter wheat.
ABSTRACT Leaf rust, caused by Puccinia triticina Eriks, is one of the most common and persistent wheat diseases in the US Great Plains. We report that the Lr34 gene was mapped in the center of a QTL for leaf rust reaction and explained 18-35% of the total phenotypic variation in disease severity of adult plants in a Jagger x 2174 population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) field-tested for 3 years. The sequence of the complete Lr34 gene was determined for the susceptible Jagger allele and for the resistant 2174 allele. The two alleles had exactly the same sequence as the resistant allele reported previously in Chinese Spring at three polymorphic sites in intron 4, exon 11, and exon 12. A G/T polymorphism was found in exon 22, where a premature stop codon was found in the susceptible Jagger allele (Lr34E22s), confirming a previous report, due to a point mutation compared with the resistant 2174 allele (Lr34E22r). We have experimentally demonstrated a tight association between the point mutation at exon 22 of Lr34 and leaf rust susceptibility in a segregating biparental population. A PCR marker was developed to distinguish between the Lr34E22r and Lr34E22s alleles. A survey of 33 local hard winter wheat cultivars indicated that 7 cultivars carry the Lr34E22s allele and 26 cultivars carry the Lr34E22r allele. This study significantly improves our genetic understanding of allelic variation in the Lr34 gene and provides a functional molecular tool to improve leaf rust resistance in a major US wheat gene pool.