Bacterial speck, caused by the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato, is one of the most common diseases in tomato production. Together with Pto kinase, the NLR (nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing) protein Prf confers resistance against the bacterial speck pathogen by recognizing AvrPto and AvrPtoB, two Type III effector proteins secreted by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. This Prf/Pto pathway is part of a complex NLR network in solanaceous plants that mediates resistance to diverse pathogens through the helper NLR proteins NRCs (NLR required for cell death). We previously showed that, in Nicotiana benthamiana, the hypersensitive cell death elicited by expression of AvrPto and Pto, which activate immunity through the endogenous Prf ortholog NbPrf, requires functionally redundant NRC2 and NRC3. However, whether tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Prf (SlPrf) confers resistance to the bacterial speck pathogen through NRC2 and NRC3 has not been determined. In this study, we show that SlPrf requires NRC2 and NRC3 to trigger hypersensitive cell death and disease resistance in both N. benthamiana and tomato. We found that the hypersensitive cell death induced by AvrPtoB/Pto/SlPrf in N. benthamiana is compromised when NRC2 and NRC3 are silenced, indicating that SlPrf is an NRC2/3-dependent NLR. We validated this finding by showing that silencing NRC2 and NRC3 in the bacterial speck resistant tomato Rio Grande 76R compromised Prf-mediated resistance. These results indicate that the NRC network extends beyond N. benthamiana to solanaceous crops.
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