Potato plants carrying the Ry(sto) gene from Solanum stoloniferum are extremely resistant to a number of potyviruses, but it is not known at what stage of infection the resistance is expressed. The resistance may be due to Ry(sto) or to a closely linked gene. In this investigation, we used potato virus Y (PVY) and a tobacco etch virus construct that encodes beta-glucuronidase (TEV-GUS) to monitor virus infections of potato plants. Systemic spread of either virus in resistant potato plants was not detectable by serology, RT-PCR, GUS assay or bioassay although each replicated in the initially infected cells of leaves from resistant potato cultivars and was transported into neighbouring cells. However, 3 days post-inoculation (p.i.) a necrotic reaction set in that stopped movement and accumulation of both viruses by 7 days p.i. The resistance reaction (probably a hypersensitive reaction) became visible as necrotic streaks on veins on the lower leaflet surfaces of some potato cultivars carrying the Ry(sto) gene and may be elicited by a common potyviral gene product.


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