Rice blast, caused by the ascomycete fungus Magnaporthe oryzae is a destructive disease of rice and responsible for causing extensive damage to the crop.

Pi54, a dominant blast resistance gene cloned from rice line Tetep, imparts a broad spectrum resistance against various M. oryzae isolates. Many of its alleles have been explored from wild Oryza species and landraces whose sequences are available in the public domain. Its cognate effector gene AvrPi54 has also been cloned from M. oryzae. Complying with the Flor's gene-for-gene system, Pi54 protein interacts with AvrPi54 protein following fungal invasion leading to the resistance responses in rice cell that prevents the disease development. In the present study Pi54 alleles from 72 rice lines were used to understand the interaction of Pi54 (R) proteins with AvrPi54 (Avr) protein. The physiochemical properties of these proteins varied due to the nucleotide level polymorphism. The ab initio tertiary structures of these R- and Avr- proteins were generated and subjected to the in silico interaction. In this interaction, the residues in the LRR region of R- proteins were shown to interact with the Avr protein. These R proteins were found to have variable strengths of binding due to the differential spatial arrangements of their amino acid residues. Additionally, molecular dynamic simulations were performed for the protein pairs that showed stronger interaction than Pi54tetep (original Pi54 from Tetep) protein. We found these proteins were forming h-bond during simulation which indicated an effective binding. The root mean square deviation values and potential energy values were stable during simulation which validated the docking results. From the interaction studies and the molecular dynamics simulations, we concluded that the AvrPi54 protein interacts directly with the resistant Pi54 proteins through the LRR region of Pi54 proteins. Some of the Pi54 proteins from the landraces namely Casebatta, Tadukan, Varun dhan, Govind, Acharmita, HPR-2083, Budda, Jatto, MTU-4870, Dobeja-1, CN-1789, Indira sona, Kulanji pille and Motebangarkaddi cultivars show stronger binding with the AvrPi54 protein, thus these alleles can be effectively used for the rice blast resistance breeding program in future.


See https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0224088