Mol Plant. 2021 Jul 13:S1674-2052(21)00274-4. doi: 10.1016/j.molp.2021.07.008. Online ahead of print.
Natural alleles controlling multiple disease resistances (MDR) are valuable for crop breeding. However, only one MDR gene have been cloned in maize, and molecular mechanisms of MDR are not clear. By map-based cloning, we have cloned a teosinte-derived allele of a resistance gene, Mexicana lesion mimic 1 (ZmMM1), which has a lesion mimic phenotype and confers resistance to northern leaf blight (NLB), gray leaf spot (GLS) and southern corn rust (SCR). Strong MDR conferred by the teosinte allele is linked with the polymorphisms in the 3' untranslated region of the ZmMM1 gene that cause increased accumulation of ZmMM1 protein. ZmMM1 acts as a transcription repressor and negatively regulates transcription of specific target genes including ZmMM1-target gene 3 (ZmMT3), which functions as a negative regulator of plant immunity and associated cell death. The successful isolation of the ZmMM1 resistance gene will help not only in developing broad-spectrum and durable disease resistance but also in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying MDR.