SUMMARY: Transfer of RP4 and related replicons belonging to the incompatibility group P IncP1) to races 2 and 6 of pv. was associated with the creation of two types of transconjugant, one resembling the parental race and the other showing an altered cultivar-specificity towards pea. The latter, irrespective of the parental race, exhibited a novel pattern of interaction with pea that corresponded to race 4; consequently such transconjugants were termed race 4-like. Curing of RP4 did not affect the phenotype, except in relation to the antibiotic resistances specified by RP4. The race 4-like strains were non-fluorescent when cultured on appropriate media (in contrast to the particular isolates of races 2 and 6 from which they were derived), showed an enhanced ability to inherit RP4 subsequently (at frequencies up to 10 per recipient) and differed from their parental race in their pattern of plasmid profile. The plasmid profiles were similar for all race 4-like strains irrespective of origin. There was no evidence that RP4 had recombined with DNA in the recipient and probing failed to detect the retention of any part of RP4 in cured strains. The inheritance of the related cosmid vector, pLAFR3, had similar effects in races 2 and 6. This observation is important since this vector has been widely used to clone avirulence genes in plant pathogenic bacteria. Transfer of the IncW plasmids S-a and R388 did not cause any changes in the fluorescence or cultivar-specificity of races 2 or 6. The novel avirulence expressed by the race 4-like variants derived from races 2 and 6 provides evidence for the presence in races 2 and 6 of an inhibitor/suppressor gene, which modulates the expression of the race 4-like avirulence gene.


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