Open Access Research article

Evolution and variability of Solanum RanGAP2, a cofactor in the incompatible interaction between the resistance protein GPA2 and the Globodera pallida effector Gp-RBP-1

Jean Carpentier123, Eric Grenier3, Magalie Esquibet3, Louis-Philippe Hamel4, Peter Moffett4, Maria J Manzanares-Dauleux25 and Marie-Claire Kerlan1*

Author Affiliations

1 INRA, UMR 1349 IGEPP INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, Université Rennes1, Ploudaniel, Keraïber, F.29260, France

2 Agrocampus Ouest, UMR 1349 IGEPP INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, Université Rennes1, Le Rheu, F-35653, France

3 INRA, UMR 1349 IGEPP INRA/Agrocampus Ouest/Université Rennes1, Le Rheu, F-35653, France

4 Université Sherbrooke, Dept Biol, Sherbrooke, PQ, J1K 2R1, Canada

5 Université Européenne de Bretagne, Brittany, Rennes cedex, F-35042, France

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:87  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-87

Published: 19 April 2013



The Ran GTPase Activating Protein 2 (RanGAP2) was first described as a regulator of mitosis and nucleocytoplasmic trafficking. It was then found to interact with the Coiled-Coil domain of the Rx and GPA2 resistance proteins, which confer resistance to Potato Virus X (PVX) and potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida, respectively. RanGAP2 is thought to mediate recognition of the avirulence protein GP-RBP-1 by GPA2. However, the Gpa2-induced hypersensitive response appears to be relatively weak and Gpa2 is limited in terms of spectrum of efficiency as it is effective against only two nematode populations. While functional and evolutionary analyses of Gp-Rbp-1 and Gpa2 identified key residues in both the resistance and avirulence proteins that are involved in recognition determination, whether variation in RanGAP2 also plays a role in pathogen recognition has not been investigated.


We amplified a total of 147 RanGAP2 sequences from 55 accessions belonging to 18 different di-and tetraploid Solanum species from the section Petota. Among the newly identified sequences, 133 haplotypes were obtained and 19.1% of the nucleotide sites were found to be polymorphic. The observed intra-specific nucleotide diversity ranges from 0.1 to 1.3%. Analysis of the selection pressures acting on RanGAP2 suggests that this gene evolved mainly under purifying selection. Nonetheless, we identified polymorphic positions in the protein sequence at the intra-specific level, which could modulate the activity of RanGAP2. Two polymorphic sites and a three amino-acid deletion in RanGAP2 were found to affect the timing and intensity of the Gpa2-induced hypersensitive response to avirulent GP-RBP-1 variants even though they did not confer any gain of recognition of virulent GP-RBP-1 variants.


Our results highlight how a resistance gene co-factor can manage in terms of evolution both an established role as a cell housekeeping gene and an implication in plant parasite interactions. StRanGAP2 gene appears to evolve under purifying selection. Its variability does not seem to influence the specificity of GPA2 recognition but is able to modulate this activity by enhancing the defence response. It seems therefore that the interaction with the plant resistance protein GPA2 (and/or Rx) rather than with the nematode effector was the major force in the evolution of the RanGAP2 locus in potato. From a mechanistic point of view these results are in accordance with a physical interaction of RanGAP2 with GPA2 and suggest that RBP-1 would rather bind the RanGAP2-GPA2 complex than the RanGAP2 protein alone.