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Impact of alternative respiration and target-site mutations on responses of germinating conidia of Magnaporthe grisea to Qo-inhibiting fungicides

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Qo-inhibiting fungicides act as respiration inhibitors by binding to the Qo center of cytochrome b. Sensitivities of fungi to Qo inhibitors can be influenced by the induction of alternative respiration or by mutational changes of the cytochrome b target site. Previous studies on both mechanisms in Magnaporthe grisea (Hebert) Barr were focused on the mycelial stage of the pathogen. The present study describes the expression and impact of both resistance mechanisms during the stage of conidia germination. In the absence of a host, alternative respiration provided a >500-fold rescue from azoxystrobin during the germination of conidia derived from four wild-type isolates of M grisea. This rescue potential during conidia gemination was substantially more pronounced than for mycelial growth. However, the pronounced effectiveness of alternative respiration during conidia germination was not apparent when barley leaves were protected with azoxystrobin prior to inoculation with conidia. In a comparison of a wild-type strain and an alternative respiration-deficient mutant, azoxystrobin efficacies in suppressing symptom development differed by a factor of two, with full disease control achieved for both genotypes at 1 µg ml-1 azoxystrobin. In contrast, conidia derived from two QoI-resistant target site mutants were highly resistant to azoxystrobin and trifloxystrobin and fully capable of infecting leaf surfaces protected with 10 µg ml-1 of azoxystrobin. Both target-site mutants had emerged spontaneously in the presence of high azoxystrobin doses when residual mycelial growth was supported by alternative respiration. The effective silencing of alternative respiration in protective applications of Qo-inhibiting fungicides might constitute a strategy of slowing the emergence of highly resistant target site mutants.

© 2003 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: Magnaporthe gisea; Pyricularia oryzae; Qo inhibitor; alternative respiration; fungicide resistance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456, USA

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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