Potential Resistance Genes Against Bacterial Blight Found in Pomegranate Study

Jim Crocker
15th June, 2024

Potential Resistance Genes Against Bacterial Blight Found in Pomegranate Study

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot, identified 958 resistance gene analogues (RGAs) in the pomegranate genome
  • These RGAs are involved in plant defense and are distributed across all eight chromosomes, with chromosome 02 having the highest number
  • RNA sequencing revealed that 120 RGAs showed significant expression changes under stress, highlighting RLKs as key targets for breeding disease-resistant pomegranate varieties
Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is renowned for its health benefits, particularly its potential against chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer, thanks to its rich polyphenolic content[2]. However, pomegranate cultivation faces significant challenges due to pests and diseases, notably bacterial blight caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae[3]. Developing disease-resistant cultivars is essential for sustainable pomegranate farming. A recent study by the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot, aimed to address this by identifying resistance gene analogues (RGAs) in pomegranate[1]. The researchers employed an extensive RGA prediction tool, discovering 958 RGAs in the pomegranate genome. These RGAs were categorized into several types: Nucleotide Binding Site-leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) proteins, receptor-like kinases (RLKs), receptor-like proteins (RLPs), Transmembrane coiled-coil (TM-CC) proteins, and nine other non-canonical RGAs. The RGAs were distributed across all eight chromosomes, with chromosome 02 having the highest number (161) and chromosome 08 showing the highest density (4.42 RGA/Mb). NBS-LRR genes, which play a crucial role in plant immunity, were predominantly found on chromosomes 08 and 02. In contrast, RLKs and RLPs were mainly located on chromosomes 04 and 07. Gene ontology analysis indicated that 475 of these RGAs are involved in defense mechanisms against various biotic stresses, highlighting their potential in developing resistant pomegranate cultivars. The study also utilized RNA sequencing (RNAseq) to identify differentially expressed RGAs. Among the 120 differentially expressed RGAs, RLKs were the most prominent, with 74 RLKs showing significant expression changes under stress conditions. This differential expression suggests that RLKs could be key targets for breeding pomegranate varieties resistant to bacterial blight and other diseases. Previous studies have underscored the importance of genetic diversity in pomegranate for its health benefits and disease resistance. For instance, an investigation into the diversity of 40 pomegranate accessions in India revealed significant morphological, biochemical, and genetic variation, which is crucial for breeding programs[4]. The current study builds on this by providing a detailed genetic map of RGAs, offering a valuable resource for developing resistant cultivars. Moreover, the identification of RGAs aligns with earlier findings on the genetic basis of disease resistance in other crops. For example, in apples, the nucleotide-binding site (NBS) profiling method has been used to map resistance gene analogues, aiding in the development of disease-resistant apple varieties[5]. The current study's use of similar methodologies underscores the broader applicability of these genetic tools in crop improvement. In conclusion, the discovery of RGAs in pomegranate by the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot, represents a significant advancement in the quest for disease-resistant pomegranate cultivars. The identification of differentially expressed RLKs, in particular, holds promise for combating bacterial blight, thereby enhancing the sustainability of pomegranate cultivation. This research not only addresses a critical agricultural challenge but also paves the way for future studies aimed at improving pomegranate resilience through genetic breeding.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Genome and transcriptome exploration reveals receptor-like kinases as potential resistance gene analogs against bacterial blight in pomegranate.

Published 14th June, 2024

Journal: Molecular biology reports

Issue: Vol 51, Issue 1, Jun 2024

Related Studies

2) Pomegranate as a functional food and nutraceutical source.


3) First Report of Bacterial Blight of Pomegranate Caused by Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. punicae in Turkey.


4) Morphological, Biochemical, and Molecular Diversity of an Indian Ex Situ Collection of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.).


5) Resistance gene analogues identified through the NBS-profiling method map close to major genes and QTL for disease resistance in apple.

Journal: TAG. Theoretical and applied genetics. Theoretische und angewandte Genetik, Issue: Vol 110, Issue 4, Feb 2005

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