Resistance to Botrytis cinerea in Solanum lycopersicoides is dominant in hybrids with tomato, and involves induced hyphal death
Botrytis cinerea causes gray mold disease and affects hundreds of plant species, including tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). The wild nightshade, Solarium lycopersicoides, is cross compatible with tomato and is more resistant to B. cinerea, thus representing a potential source for crop improvement. Tests involving droplet inoculation of detached leaves and spray inoculation of entire seedlings demonstrated that resistance to B. cinerea varies among S. lycopersicoides accessions, with S. lycopersicoides LA2951 being the most resistant accession tested. Expression of resistance in the intergeneric hybrid (L. esculentum cv. 'VF36' x S. lycopersicoides LA2951) suggested that resistance is at least partially dominant in tomato. A green fluorescent protein-tagged B. cinerea strain was used for confocal microscopic comparison of infection in leaves of S. lycopersicoides and tomato. Even though S. lycopersicoides supported spore germination, there was evidence for hyphal lysis and death 3 days after inoculation, at a time when lesions were expanding on susceptible tomato plants. The reduced frequency of B. cinerea lesion spread on S. lycopersicoides explains why this fungus produced fewer spores in this wild nightshade than in tomato.