The LeEIX Locus Determines Pathogen Resistance in Tomato

Meirav Leibman-Markus, Rupali Gupta, Lorena Pizarro, Maya Bar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanisms underlying the ability of plants to differentiate between pathogens and commensals in their environment are currently unresolved. It has been suggested that spatiotemporal regulation of pattern-recognition receptor (PRR) content could be one of the components providing plants with the ability to distinguish between pathogens and nonpathogenic microbes. The LeEIX PRRs recognize xylanases derived from beneficial or commensal plant colonizers of Trichoderma species, including the xylanase known as EIX. Here, we investigated possible general roles of PRRs from the LeEIX locus in immunity and pathogen resistance in tomato. Mutating the inhibitory PRR LeEIX1, or overexpressing the activating PRR LeEIX2, resulted in resistance to a wide range of pathogens and increased basal and elicited immunity. LeEIX1 knockout caused increases in the expression level of several tested PRRs, including FLS2, as well as bacterial pathogen resistance coupled with an increase in flg22-mediated immunity. The wild tomato relative Solanum pennellii contains inactive LeEIX PRR variants. S. pennellii does not respond to elicitation with the LeEIX PRR ligand EIX. Given that EIX is derived from a mostly nonpathogenic microbe, the connection of its PRRs to disease resistance has not previously been investigated directly. Here, we observed that compared with S. lycopersicum cultivar M82, S. pennellii was more sensitive to several fungal and bacterial pathogens. Our results suggest that the LeEIX locus might determine resistance to fungal necrotrophs, whereas the resistance to biotrophs is effected in combination with a gene/quantitative trait locus not within the LeEIX locus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • EIX
  • LeEIX
  • flg22
  • immunity
  • pathogenesis
  • xylanase


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