Candidate genes in coffee ( Coffea arabica L.) leaves associated with rust ( Hemileia vastatrix Berk. & Br) stress Academic Article uri icon


  • Background. Coffee leaf rust (CLR) caused by Hemileia vastatrix Berk. & Br, is one of the most threatening diseases for Coffea arabica L. It is hypothesized that host tolerance to CLR relies on non-race-specific resistance genes. Methods. This study evaluated gene expression in leaves of two susceptible coffee cultivars (one inbred and one F1 hybrid) under different stress conditions: rust control (fungicide and untreated) and fruit thinning (thinned and un-thinned) treatments. RNA-seq analysis focused on the association of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) with CLR and associated the effect of the most significant genes into the phenotype, using regression and prediction statistical models. Results. Gene expression and gene ontology (GO) analysis allowed identification of 100 genes associated with quantitative traits. From these, 88 were correlated with rust incidence, rust severity, and rust sporulation. The expression of genes coding for pathogenesis-related proteins increased positively with rust incidence in the inbred, while genes involved in homoeostasis and broader cell wall structuring processes were upregulated in the F1 hybrid. The enriched gene functions and associations revealed that a possible hypersensitive response (HR) in the inbred and a systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in the F1 hybrid were involved in the tolerance mechanisms to CLR stress. This is the first study to demonstrate the specific interactions between CLR and host at a molecular level, useful for identifying control targets for breeding perennial species.

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Echeverra-Beirute, F., Murray, S. C., Bertrand, B., & Klein, P. E.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Echeverría-Beirute, Fabián||Murray, Seth C||Bertrand, Benoit||Klein, Patricia E

publication date

  • January 2019