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1.  Endogenous florendoviruses are major components of plant genomes and hallmarks of virus evolution 
Nature Communications  2014;5:5269.
The extent and importance of endogenous viral elements have been extensively described in animals but are much less well understood in plants. Here we describe a new genus of Caulimoviridae called ‘Florendovirus’, members of which have colonized the genomes of a large diversity of flowering plants, sometimes at very high copy numbers (>0.5% total genome content). The genome invasion of Oryza is dated to over 1.8 million years ago (MYA) but phylogeographic evidence points to an even older age of 20–34 MYA for this virus group. Some appear to have had a bipartite genome organization, a unique characteristic among viral retroelements. In Vitis vinifera, 9% of the endogenous florendovirus loci are located within introns and therefore may influence host gene expression. The frequent colocation of endogenous florendovirus loci with TA simple sequence repeats, which are associated with chromosome fragility, suggests sequence capture during repair of double-stranded DNA breaks.
Endogenous viral elements have been extensively described in animals but their significance in plants is less well understood. Here, Geering et al. describe a new group of endogenous pararetroviruses, called florendoviruses, which have colonized the genomes of many important crop species.
PMCID: PMC4241990  PMID: 25381880
2.  Historical Introgression of the Downy Mildew Resistance Gene Rpv12 from the Asian Species Vitis amurensis into Grapevine Varieties 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61228.
The Amur grape (Vitis amurensis Rupr.) thrives naturally in cool climates of Northeast Asia. Resistance against the introduced pathogen Plasmopara viticola is common among wild ecotypes that were propagated from Manchuria into Chinese vineyards or collected by Soviet botanists in Siberia, and used for the introgression of resistance into wine grapes (Vitis vinifera L.). A QTL analysis revealed a dominant gene Rpv12 that explained 79% of the phenotypic variance for downy mildew resistance and was inherited independently of other resistance genes. A Mendelian component of resistance–a hypersensitive response in leaves challenged with P. viticola–was mapped in an interval of 0.2 cM containing an array of coiled-coil NB-LRR genes on chromosome 14. We sequenced 10-kb genic regions in the Rpv12+ haplotype and identified polymorphisms in 12 varieties of V. vinifera using next-generation sequencing. The combination of two SNPs in single-copy genes flanking the NB-LRR cluster distinguished the resistant haplotype from all others found in 200 accessions of V. vinifera, V. amurensis, and V. amurensis x V. vinifera crosses. The Rpv12+ haplotype is shared by 15 varieties, the most ancestral of which are the century-old ‘Zarja severa’ and ‘Michurinets’. Before this knowledge, the chromosome segment around Rpv12+ became introgressed, shortened, and pyramided with another downy mildew resistance gene from North American grapevines (Rpv3) only by phenotypic selection. Rpv12+ has an additive effect with Rpv3+ to protect vines against natural infections, and confers foliar resistance to strains that are virulent on Rpv3+ plants.
PMCID: PMC3625174  PMID: 23593440
3.  The powdery mildew resistance gene REN1 co-segregates with an NBS-LRR gene cluster in two Central Asian grapevines 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:89.
Grape powdery mildew is caused by the North American native pathogen Erysiphe necator. Eurasian Vitis vinifera varieties were all believed to be susceptible. REN1 is the first resistance gene naturally found in cultivated plants of Vitis vinifera.
REN1 is present in 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara', two grapevines documented in Central Asia since the 1920's. These cultivars have a second-degree relationship (half sibs, grandparent-grandchild, or avuncular), and share by descent the chromosome on which the resistance allele REN1 is located. The REN1 interval was restricted to 1.4 cM using 38 SSR markers distributed across the locus and the segregation of the resistance phenotype in two progenies of collectively 461 offspring, derived from either resistant parent. The boundary markers delimit a 1.4-Mbp sequence in the PN40024 reference genome, which contains 27 genes with known functions, 2 full-length coiled-coil NBS-LRR genes, and 9 NBS-LRR pseudogenes. In the REN1 locus of PN40024, NBS genes have proliferated through a mixture of segmental duplications, tandem gene duplications, and intragenic recombination between paralogues, indicating that the REN1 locus has been inherently prone to producing genetic variation. Three SSR markers co-segregate with REN1, the outer ones confining the 908-kb array of NBS-LRR genes. Kinship and clustering analyses based on genetic distances with susceptible cultivars representative of Central Asian Vitis vinifera indicated that 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara' fit well into local germplasm. 'Kishmish vatkana' also has a parent-offspring relationship with the seedless table grape 'Sultanina'. In addition, the distant genetic relatedness to rootstocks, some of which are derived from North American species resistant to powdery mildew and have been used worldwide to guard against phylloxera since the late 1800's, argues against REN1 being infused into Vitis vinifera from a recent interspecific hybridisation.
The REN1 gene resides in an NBS-LRR gene cluster tightly delimited by two flanking SSR markers, which can assist in the selection of this DNA block in breeding between Vitis vinifera cultivars. The REN1 locus has multiple layers of structural complexity compared with its two closely related paralogous NBS clusters, which are located some 5 Mbp upstream and 4 Mbp downstream of the REN1 interval on the same chromosome.
PMCID: PMC2814809  PMID: 20042081

Results 1-3 (3)