Advances in the molecular genetic analysis of the flax-flax rust interaction

Jeff Ellis, Greg Lawrence, Michael Ayliffe, Peter Anderson, Nick Collins, Jean Finnegan, Donna Frost, Joanne Luck, Tony Pryor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The L6 and M rust-resistance genes, representing two of the five rust-resistance gene loci in flax (Linum usitatissimum), have been cloned. The molecular data are fully consistent with earlier genetic data: the L locus is a single gene with multiple alleles expressing different rust resistance specificities, and the M locus is complex, containing an array of about 15 similar genes. Thus, while L6 and M resistance genes have 86% nucleotide identity, their locus structure is very different. These genes encode products belonging to the nucleotide binding siteleucine-rich repeat class of disease-resistance proteins. Analysis of alleles from the L locus and chimetic genes is providing evidence suggesting that important specificity determinants occur in the C-terminal half of the proteins, the region containing the leucine-rich repeats. The isolation and characterization of the rust (Melampsora lini) avirulence genes that correspond to the cloned rust-resistance genes is one of the major challenges remaining to the understanding of this system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-291
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Phytopathology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • A virulence genes
  • Complex loci
  • Gene-for-gene specificity
  • Plant disease-resistance genes
  • Resistance gene cloning


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