The Mi resistance gene in tomato reduces the feeding, fecundity, and survival of certain isolates of the potato aphid (Macrosiphum euphorbiae Thomas). This study compared the performance of two potato aphid isolates, WU11 and WU12, on nearly isogenic susceptible (Mi−) and resistant (Mi ) tomato cultivars. Although Mi significantly reduced the population growth of both aphids, WU12 numbers decreased by only 15% compared with 95% for isolate WU11. These results show that there are quantitative differences in virulence among potato aphid isolates. Compared with WU11 aphids, isolate WU12 caused more necrosis on both resistant and susceptible plants, and this increased damage may play a role in the partial virulence of isolate WU12. However, infestation with aphid isolate WU12 did not compromise plant defenses against isolate WU11 in resistant plants. Prior inoculation with either aphid isolate caused a modest reduction in the survival of WU12 adults, but this form of induced resistance was observed on both resistant and susceptible cultivars. Thus, Mi did not play a role in acquired resistance or mediate any indirect interactions between the two aphid isolates. Notably, the mode of action of Mi-mediated resistance seemed to differ depending on the aphid isolate tested. Mi dramatically deterred feeding by WU11 aphids, whereas the effects of resistance on isolate WU12 seemed to be caused primarily by antibiosis. Tolerance did not seem to be a major component of Mi-mediated responses, although resistant plants showed a modest reduction in the amount of foliar necrosis induced per aphid compared with susceptible plants.
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