Biosecurity Research Articles

Parallel evolution of multiple mechanisms for demethylase inhibitor fungicide resistance in the barley pathogen Pyrenophora teres f. sp. maculata

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Fungal Genetics and Biology




Cyp51, Demethylase inhibitor, Fungicide resistance, Net blotch, Pyrenophora teres, Parallel evolution


Agronomy and Crop Sciences | Biosecurity


The fungal pathogen Pyrenophora teres f. sp. maculata (Ptm), responsible for spot-form of net blotch (SFNB), is currently the most significant disease of barley in Australia and a major disease worldwide. Management of SFNB relies heavily on fungicides and in Australia the demethylase inhibitors (DMIs) predominate. There have been sporadic reports of resistance to DMIs in Ptm but the mechanisms remain obscure. Ptm isolates collected from 1996 to 2019 in Western Australia were tested for fungicide sensitivity levels. Decreased sensitivity to DMIs was observed in isolates collected after 2015. Resistance factors to tebuconazole fell into two classes; moderate resistance (MR; RF 6–11) and high resistance (HR; RFs 30–65). Mutations linked to resistance were detected in the promoter region and coding sequence of the DMI target gene Cyp51A. Solo-LTR insertion elements were found at 5 different locations in the promoter region. Three different non-synonymous mutations encoded an altered protein with a phenylalanine to leucine substitution at position 489, F489L (F495I in the archetype CYP51A of Aspergillus fumigatus). F489L mutations have also been found in DMI-resistant strains of P. teres f. sp. teres. Ptm isolates carrying either a LTR insertion element or a F489L allele displayed the MR1 or MR2 phenotypes, respectively. Isolates carrying both an insertion element and a F489L mutation displayed the HR phenotype. Multiple mechanisms acting both alone and in concert were found to contribute to DMI resistance in Ptm. Moreover, these mutations have emerged repeatedly in Western Australian Ptm populations by a process of parallel evolution.



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