Until recently, Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fisch. was thought to utilize only Ribes spp. (Grossulariaceae) as telial hosts in North America. During 2004, Pedicularis racemosa Dougl. ex Benth. and Castilleja miniata Dougl. (Orobanchaceae) were proven as natural telial hosts at a subalpine site (48.634109°N, 116.570817°W, elevation 1,800 m) near Roman Nose Lake, ID, where whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) and western white pine (Pinus monticola Dougl. ex D. Don) are aecial hosts, and Pedicularis, Castilleja, and Ribes spp. are common herbs/shrubs (2). During August 2006, teliospore columns typical of C. ribicola or the morphologically indistinguishable (2) C. coleosporioides J.C. Arthur were found on two Pedicularis bracteosa Benth. plants at this site, within 3 m of a large, sporulating canker on whitebark pine. ITS/5.8S rDNA regions were sequenced using detached teliospore column samples from the two plants, ITS1F and ITS4 primers (3), and standard PCR protocols (2). One sample sequence was identified as C. ribicola and the other as C. coleosporioides (GenBank Accession Nos. EF185857 and EF185858, respectively), by exact matches in comparisons with published sequences (2). Artificial inoculation confirmed P. bracteosa's ability to host C. ribicola. Sections of leaves collected near Freezeout Saddle, ID (47.00885°N, 116.00846°W, elev. 1,600 m) were rinsed in water, placed abaxial side up on moistened filter paper in 150-mm petri plates, inoculated with seven diverse sources of urediniospores/aeciospores, misted with distilled water, and incubated at 18°C with 12 h of light. A single leaf section produced urediniospores 17 days and teliospores 26 days after inoculation with one of two Roman Nose aeciospore sources. Urediniospores from this leaf section caused infections on Ribes nigrum L., and teliospore columns yielded a DNA sequence that matched C. ribicola. Though P. bracteosa is confirmed as yet another natural host of C. ribicola in North America, it may be producing less C. ribicola inoculum for pine infection than do the P. racemosa and Ribes spp. telial hosts at the collection site. Uredinia and telia of C. ribicola on P. bracteosa were much less frequent and smaller than those on P. racemosa and Ribes spp. and those of C. coleosporioides on this same host (2). Pedicularis (but not Castilleja) spp. are significant telial hosts of C. ribicola strains at some high elevation sites in eastern Asia (1). Discovery of multiple North American telial hosts in the Orobanchaceae suggests unrecognized complexity in C. ribicola's ability to exploit ecological niches in recently established pathosystems of North America (2).
References: (1) G. I. McDonald et al. Pages 41--57 in: Forest Pathology: From Genes to Landscapes. J. Lundquist and R. Hamelin, eds. The American Phytopathological Society. St. Paul, MN, 2005. (2) G. I. McDonald et al. For. Pathol. 36:73, 2006. (3) T. J. White et al. Pages 315--322 in: PCR Protocols: A Guide to Methods and Applications. M. A. Innis et al. eds. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, 1990.
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